Nonsochukwu Uwa, Owerri
The 34 Artillery Brigade Nigerian Army, said its troops allegedly killed a gang leader of the Eastern Security Network, ESN, an armed group of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, in a gun battle at Ihioma in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State, on Sunday.
The slain ESN Leader was simply identified as as “Evil Forest.”
The Director of Army Public Relations, Onyema Nwachukwu, disclosed this to newsmen on Monday in Owerri, adding that trouble started when the ESN members came to enforce the sit-at-home order in Orlu main town.
According to the Army, “Troops of 34 Artillery Brigade Nigerian Army (NA) on Sunday 17 April 2022 neutralized a member of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed affiliate Eastern Security Network (ESN) at Ihioma Community in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State.
“Troops on routine patrol encountered members of the irredentist group who fired sporadically at Banana Junction to enforce the illegal sit at home order on law-abiding citizens going about their legitimate businesses. The IPOB/ESN criminals on sighting the troops withdrew in a blue Toyota Highlander towards Ihioma Community for reinforcement.
“In the firefight that ensued during the operation, one of the criminals was taken out, while others fled in disarray. Troops are combing the general area in follow-up operations to track down the fleeing dissidents.
“Having suffered casualty and effectively denied freedom of action by the troops, the irredentist group have resorted to cheap propaganda to whip up public sentiments by circulating a doctored video on the social media alleging troops complicity in their mindless atrocities. This propaganda should be disregarded in its entirety,” Army said.
Other accounts by security operatives say Evil Forest has been under a security watch-list for carrying out deadly activities involving the burning of police stations and killings.
Ikengaonline had earlier reported that security operatives and unknown gunmen have been engaged in gun battles since Saturday night up until Sunday.
Many houses and a guest house known as an Inland Guest House were razed during this battle.
Unconfirmed reports claim that unspecified number of people lost their lives in the fight.