Five suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed affiliate Eastern Security Network (ESN) were reportedly shot dead when police operatives raided their camp at Izombe in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State.
Three police officers were also wounded in the gun duel that lasted for several hours.
According to the police, when the suspected ESN operatives realised that they had suffered heavy defeat, they burnt houses belonging to serving and retired police officers and other security agencies in villages.
The incident happened on Thursday around 4.30pm.
The Commissioner of Police Mohammed Barde, who confirmed the incident, explained houses belonging to persons the hoodlums suspected to be informants to security agencies were also burnt down.
According to him: “The hoodlums who on sighting the police operatives engaged them in a gun battle but were overwhelmed by the superior fire power of the gallant police operatives who positioned themselves professionally.
“The operatives after dislodging the hoodlums moved in and conducted a thorough search of the camp where the following items were: three English made Pump Action Guns, 118 GPMG ammunitions, 41 AK 47 live ammunition, 19 G3 ammunitions, one cut to size locally made double barrel, one locally made double barrel, Four locally made pistols, Four locally made explosive devices, military uniforms, police uniforms, Biafra flags, four ESN caps, one pair of Police boot, various types of hard drugs, some police accoutrements, four live tortoise, large quantities of weeds suspected to be Indian hemp, and pieces of red cloths were recovered to the station.”
According to him while leaving the hoodlums’ den, some of them ambushed the operatives and engaged them in another gun duel.
“During the exchange of gun fire, the operatives were able to subdue the hoodlums and in the process five of them were neutralised.
“Unfortunately, three police operatives sustained not life threatening injuries and were taken to a government hospital where they were treated.
“The hoodlums realizing they have suffered a heavy defeat went for a reprisal attack in the villages, burning houses belonging to both serving and retired police officers and other security agencies.
“Furthermore, houses belonging to persons they suspect are informants to security agencies were equally burnt down,” he added.
He said that the community has been fortified with enough police operatives and other security officers to protect lives and properties while, efforts are on top gear to arrest the fleeing suspects.