Unspecified number of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) members was killed in a bloody clash with the police during a raid on their camp at Akata in Oru East Local Government Area, Imo State yesterday.
The police also suffered heavy casualties as some members of IPOB/ESN laid an ambush for the policemen as they were returning from the raid.
It was learnt that the IPOB/ESN militants threw petrol bombs and Improvised Explosives Devices (I.E.Ds) at the police vehicles.
According to credible information by the Imo State Command’s intelligence unit, suspected members of IPOB/ESN were seen mobilising to attack police formations and government installations in the state from their camp located at Akata in Oru East LGA of Imo State.
It was learnt that the state Commissioner of Police, Hussaini Rabiu, immediately dispatched the command’s special forces and tactical teams led by the officer in charge of Operation Restore Peace, ACP Evans Shem, to go and dislodge the bandits as a proactive measure to nip their planned attack in the bud.
Police spokesman CSP Michael Abattam, who disclosed this in a statement, said on approaching the camp, the police teams were attacked by the terror group.
He said in the battle that ensue)d, the head of the IPOB/ESN group and others were neutralised.
He said the following items were recovered: three Improvised Explosives Devices (I.E.D), two pump action guns, nine cartridges, one locally made pistol and one Toyota Highlander SUV vehicle with registration number IMO DFB 535 LC.
He said the items were taken to their station.
According to him, on their way back, unknown to the police, the bandits had reinforced and lay an ambush using palm tree logs to block the entire exit paths in the bush.
“It was at the fourth blockade that the police teams came under heavy attack while removing the fourth palm tree log used in blocking the exit path.
“The bandits threw petrol bombs and Improvised Explosives Devices (I.E.Ds) at the police vehicles.”
He said the police teams successfully dislodged the bandits and many of them were neutralised while others fled into the bush with bullets injuries.
“Unfortunately, one of the police Hilux vehicles was burnt due to the petrol bombs thrown at it.”
He disclosed also that three police officers sustained bullet injuries and were rushed to the hospital while one of them died on the way.
Two other officers, he said, were in stable condition undergoing treatment in a government hospital.
Abattam said the tactical teams were combing the bush for possible recovery of more arms and improvised explosives devices.