The Nigerian Army has recovered the corpses of four soldiers allegedly killed by members of the pro-Biafra group, IPOB, in Orlu, Imo State.
A senior military officer, who confirmed the development to PRNigeria, said the military vehicle damaged during the attack has also been recovered.
PRNigeria reported how Nigerian troops on Monday arrested 20 members of IPOB after they attacked soldiers and civilians in Orlu.
The troops, in a joint operation involving the army, air force and the police, sustained a raid operation in the axis, after the killing of the soldiers.
The IPOB members were said to have ambushed and killed the soldiers who were on the escort of a top military officer.
The officer, a brigadier-general, and his team were on inspection of the civil-military project at Nkwerre.
The IPOB members were said to have also taken away weapons and a vehicle belonging to the troops.
The PRNigeria report was not explicit on when the soldiers were killed. But it appeared the incident happened late January, from a report published, January 26, by the BBC Pidgin English.
The BBC report, which was later pulled down, said the police spokesperson in Imo, Orlando Ikeogwu, confirmed the killing.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the Nigerian Army, 82 Division, Aliyu Yusuf, has alerted the public of a fake video on an alleged plan by soldiers to attack women and children in Orlu Market.
Mr Yusuf, a colonel, said the video was circulated on social media to hoodwink the public.
He said: “The video was recorded in an unknown market with a fake soldier claiming to be privy to a supposed order given by 302 Artillery Regiment, Onitsha to start killing everybody at Orlu Market and environs in Orlu Local Government Area in Imo State.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that it was a calculated attempt to maliciously fabricate sensational stories to cause resentment and smear campaign against Nigerian Army Internal Security Operations.
“The supposed individual in the video was not bold enough to reveal his true identity as claimed or present his so called military uniform and identity card which were deliberately obscured to deceive innocent target audience.”
Mr Yusuf added that the Nigerian Army recognises the right of citizens to hold and share opinions on social media, and not to spread divisive contents by unpatriotic individuals.
I invited military to Orlu – Governor Uzodinma
Amidst the controversy over the military operation in Orlu, Governor Hope Uzodinma has said the military came to Imo State on his invitation.
IPOB has claimed the Igbos are unfairly targeted by the Nigerian government.
Mr Uzodinma, who spoke with reporters in Abuja after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said the soldiers were brought in to quell violence perpetrated by “militants” in Orlu and its environs.
“Well, the issue of bringing the military to Imo state; you recall, during the EndSARS protests, a lot of properties were damaged in Imo State; police stations were burnt down, soldiers were killed, their rifles removed from them. And immediately after the EndSARS, we thought it was over then issues of kidnapping, where you know, a Catholic bishop was kidnapped, people were killed.
“And these militants come out and begin to shoot. We’ve lost lives, market women were killed, old women were raped in Orlu area of Imo State and they visited this serious terror on the citizenry. And then I came here, pleaded with Mr President for his support and he sent additional support by sending in police and the military also came in. And that is where we are,” the governor said.
Mr Uzodinma did not mention IPOB by name, but it was apparent he was referring to the outlawed group.
He said the military were not at Orlu to “crush” anybody.
“It is not about crushing anybody and those that came didn’t do any crushing,” the governor said. “Those that came through their intelligence, identified where these people were and I can tell you, all the people arrested, all the rifles recovered are intact.”
IPOB, which enjoys great following in the South-east, has been canvassing an independent state of Biafra, and has frequently clashed with security agencies, including the Nigerian Army.
The group recently set up its security arm called the Eastern Security Network.
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