Defence & SecurityCrimeInsecurity & Crime

Police raid IPOB/ESN camp, neutralise one, recover large firearms, ammunition in Enugu

By Charles Onyekwere

Police have carried out a raid on the camp of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)/Eastern Security Network (ESN) in Agu-Ibeje forest within Enugu-Ezike community of Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area in Enugu State.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Daniel Ndukwe, on Tuesday in Enugu.

Ndukwe said police operatives of the command drawn from Tactical Squads and Operation Restore Peace carried out tactical and intelligence-driven dusk to dawn raids on the IPOB/ESN camp between Aug. 11 and Aug. 12.

According to him, the raid is in pursuance of the crime-fighting strategies devised by the state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Abubakar Lawal.

He said that the hoodlums, on sighting the police operatives, engaged them in a gun duel, which led to the neutralisation of one of them.

The police spokesman said that several others escaped with varying degrees of fatal gunshot wounds, due to the superior firepower of the operatives.

He said: “The operation led to the discovery and exhumation from a shallow grave in the camp, the corpse of their victim identified as Johnson Okpanachi, a Police Officer serving in Igbo-Eze North Police Division.

“Okpanachi had gone missing on July 30, while all efforts made to trace his whereabouts proved abortive.

“Items recovered at the Camp included: 12 firearms, including one AR-K2 Assault rifle, six pump action guns, one locally-made Berretta-like pistol and five locally-fabricated double-barreled guns.

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“98 live cartridges; two machetes, one digger, one battle axe and one hacksaw; five motor vehicles, which included three Toyota Sienna minivans, one Honda Pilot Jeep and one (1) Hiace (Hummer) bus loaded with assorted Ankara fabrics.”

The police spokesman said that all the items reported recovered were snatched from their owners at different times within the area by the hoodlums.

He added that 20 different brands of motorcycles with their plate numbers removed; one police bullet-proof vest; one pair of police camouflage uniform; one pair of military camouflage uniform with a cap and military singlet.

He said: “Other items recovered in the raid included: one piece of red-black-green coloured clothing identified as Biafra flag and another five pieces of masquerade-like attires of the said flag colours.

“One HP laptop with its bag; 22 different brands of mobile phones; six different brands of Mp3 players; one canon camera, six torch lights; three rolls of cello tapes; one air pumping machine and one small yellow-coloured generating set.

“15 fabric arm-less and five plastic chairs; seven school bags; one camp bed and 21 pieces of table spoons and a set of musical equipment, including band set, piano, guitar and speakers, the hoodlums allegedly stolen after invading a church in the area.”

In a related development, police operatives, on Aug. 8 at about 9:15 am, recovered two AK-47 rifles with four all loaded with a total of 64 rounds of 7.62mm calibre of live ammunition (currently in the custody of 82 Division of the Nigerian Army).

“Other things recovered are one locally-made cut-to-size gun, one dane gun, one Lexus RX 330 and one RX 300 Jeeps, one Honda Pilot Jeep, 25 machetes, two axes, one dagger, four phones, a military camouflage uniform, two forest uniform trousers and fetish items suspected to be charms.

“The recovery is sequel to the police swift response to a distress call alleging that IPOB/ESN hoodlums invaded and set ablaze the house of a local vigilante at Oduma community in Aninri Local Government Area on the said date,” he said.

Ndukwe said that the commissioner commended police operatives for the successful execution of the operations without any casualty recorded by the command.

The police spokesman said that the CP also charged them to remain focused on actualising the overall goal of ridding the state of unrepentant criminal elements.

The PPRO said that the state police boss called on residents to remain law-abiding, vigilant and support the command with credible information or intelligence it requires to combat criminals and their activities.

“I enjoin individuals and owners of medical facilities to quickly report anyone sighted with gunshot injuries to the nearest police station or personnel,” he added.

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