Security agents have killed three suspected members of the outlaws. Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its militant wing, the Eastern Security Network in Enugu State, southeastern Nigeria.
The state police spokesperson, Daniel Ndukwe, in a statement on Monday, said the security agencies were composed of police officers of the state command, special forces personnel of the Nigeria Police and troops of the 82 Division of the Army of Nigeria.
Ndukwe, Deputy Superintendent of Police, said the hoodlums were killed at about 2:15am on Monday when a combined security team raided their hideout in Ezioha, Mgbowo community in Awgu Local Government Area of the state.
The police spokesperson said the operation followed a tip-off that hoodlums were planning to enforce a stay-at-home order declared by an IPOB faction.
“Three of the thugs, who opened fire on the joint team on sight, were neutralized, while several others escaped with serious gunshot wounds in the ensuing gunfight,” he said.
According to the police, among the items recovered from the hoodlums were three pump guns and 10 machetes.
Police said a search was underway for the fleeing hoodlums.
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Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Kanayo Uzuegbu, commended the joint security officers for the successful operation, Ndukwe said.
Uzuegbu assured residents of the state that security agencies would ensure their safety while they went about their business.
The police commissioner reiterated the commitment of the police and other security agencies to sustain the onslaught against criminals in the state.
He urged residents to report to the police anyone seen with gunshot wounds in their neighborhood and also asked them to support security agencies with information to help in the fight against crime.
In August 2021, IPOB introduced a home isolation order every Monday across the South East to pressure the Nigerian government to release Nnamdi Kanu, who is on trial for alleged terrorism.
The group later suspended the order, preferring that it be implemented only on days when Kanu appeared in court.
But despite its suspension, residents of the five southeastern states (Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, Abia and Anambra) have been observing Monday’s stay-at-home order, mainly out of fear.
IPOB had repeatedly repudiated Monday’s sit-in across the region, saying those still enforcing the order were criminals trying to blackmail the separatist group.
But a pro-Biafra agitator, Simon Ekpa, who heads Autopilot, an IPOB faction, has continued to declare sit-at-home in the region, despite being suspended by the Kanu-led IPOB faction.
In June, Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State banned Monday sit-ins in the state, explaining that the illegal action was killing the “entrepreneurship, commerce and creativity” of the Igbo people in the region.
Following public outcry, in late July, Kanu, through a handwritten letter delivered to Aloy Ejimakor, his special counsel, ordered Ekpa to stop issuing stay-at-home orders in the region.
But the pro-Biafra agitator described the letter as “false” and kept that the illegal action would continue until Mr. Kanu spoke to him directly in Finland, a country in northern Europe, where he (Ekpa) resides.
IPOB is leading the agitation for an independent state of Biafra, which it wants to separate from southeastern and some parts of south-south Nigeria.