Troops of the Nigerian Army have killed at least four members of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra/Eastern Security Network (IPOB/ESN) while one of its personnel lost his life.
This is coming a week to the governorship election in Anambra.
According to the Army, the deceased gunmen, who were killed at Nnobi Junction, Idemili South Local Government Area of the State, had engaged the troops of 82 Division conducting Exercise GOLDEN DAWN on Friday in a fierce gun battle before they were overpowered.
Army spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, who disclosed this on Saturday in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja, explained that troops’ actions followed the assailants’ armed attack on personnel of security agencies deployed at Ekwulobia Round About in Aguata Local Government Area of the State.
According to Nwachukwu, the troops swiftly mobilised to the scene and subsequently embarked on pursuit of the criminals along Nnewi-Nnobi road, adding that troops made contact with the fleeing gunmen and engaged them in a firefight that led to neutralising four of the criminals.
He said the troops also recovered two AK-47 Rifles, one GALIL Ace 5.56 x 45 Iwi Gun, one Avofeng Handheld radio and one Black Highlander jeep, saying “sadly, a personnel of one of the security agencies paid the supreme price”.
In a separate operation, Nwachukwu revealed that troops have foiled another attack by IPOB/ESN gunmen at Umunze Checkpoint, in Orumba South Local Government Area.
He noted that the troops overwhelmed the attackers in the shootout that ensued, forcing them to take to their heels, abandoning one Pump Action gun with nine cartridges, one dark blue Ford and four motorcycles, which the troops have recovered.
The Nigerian Army’s spokesman noted that the recent attacks are part of proscribed IPOB’s plan to instil fear into the public and sabotage the forthcoming Anambra State Governorship Election.
He added, ”The armed forces of Nigeria and other security agencies reassured Nigerians they will not relent in resolutely confronting all criminals intents against the citizenry and national interest.
”Law-abiding citizens are enjoined to continue to go about their daily activities without any fear.
“They are also encouraged to report any unusual activity observed across Anambra State to the nearest security post.”
Recall that the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, had at a meeting of the Special Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) warned those intending to cause conflict to behave themselves as the election in the State approaches.
After the warning, no fewer than 100 strategic commanders of the Nigerian Police which include: 2 DIGs, 5 AIGs, 14 Commissioners of Police, 31 DCPs and 48 Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACPs) were deployed to man 21 LGAs.