By Ologeh Joseph Chibu
At least three members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, (IPOB) were killed in Abia and Enugu States on Monday.
The security operatives had invaded IPOB camp leading to a shootout.
In a statement signed by Director Army Public Relations Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu
made available to Irohinoodua the operatives said joint troops of 82 Division Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Police neutralized three combatants of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed affiliate, Eastern Security Network (ESN) in a fierce encounter that ensued during a clearance operation in the early hours of Monday 18 at Igboro Forest, between Arochukwu and Ohafia Local Government Areas of Abia state.
IPOB is demanding for a separate country for the largely Igbo speaking South East. Nigeria has been rocked by demands by separatists groups who exploit the state of poverty, exclusion and economic misery that is the lot of millions of Nigerians to call for a break up of Africa’s most populous country.
IPOB is led by detained Nnamdi Kanu who was abducted in Kenya by Nigerian authorities.
He is currently facing charges of treason in Abuja, the country’s capital.
The security operatives said on winning the fire fight, the troops wasted no time
destroying several hideou camps used by members of the groups to perpetrate heinous crimes.
“The camps were uncovered, after several weeks of credible surveillance revealed that IPOB/ESN were using the forest as a combat training ground for their members and as a base for planning and launching attacks on targeted civilians, security operatives and government facilities in the state” the statement noted
Security forces said on further exploiting the camp, the gallant troops recovered several weapons and ammunition, amongst others.
“The Items recovered include One improvised 16 Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) Gun mounted on a vehicle, One improvised 12 MBRL Gun, One improvised 6 MBRL Gun, One AK 47 Rifle, One Dane Gun, 6 locally made Rocket Launchers, four Improvised Explosive Devices, five Fragmental Jackets, One Baofeng Radio, Military Camouflage Uniforms and several assorted charms.”
In a similar development that also took place in the early hours of Monday, the same troops of 82 Division NA in synergy with the Nigerian Police Force, acting on credible intelligence busted IPOB/ESN hideout at Ezioha Mgbowo in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu state.
“The armed fighters were perfecting plans to enforce the illegal sit-at-home order in the area, when the vigilant troops swooped on them” he said.
The armed fighters, who opened fire on sighting troops approaching their camp were however defeated in the fire fight that followed, as the troops responded with overwhelming fire power, neutralizing three of the fighters, while others fled in disarray,the authorities said.
The Army said the troops recovered three Pump Action Guns and 10 Machetes from the fleeing fighters.
“Members of the public are implored to continue to support the Nigerian Army and other security agencies with credible information to enhance the fight against terrorism insurgency and other criminal activities” it said.