The Imo State Police Command said it raided the camp of the Eastern Security Network of the Indigenous People of Biafra on Friday and left many suspected members wounded.
The command’s Spokesman, CSP Michael Abattam, disclosed this in a statement issued in Owerri on Friday.
Abattam said that the raid was carried out following an intelligence and credible information it received on the clandestine activities of the group at Izombe in Oguta Local Government Area.
The statement read in part: “The hoodlums, who on sighting the police operatives, engaged them in a gun battle.
“However, they were overwhelmed by the superior fire power of the gallant police operatives.
“During the fierce gun battle, the hoodlums suffered huge casualty.”
Abattam added that the suspects were forced to retreat into the bush “with various degrees of bullet wounds”.
The statement further stated that the operatives recovered three English made pump action guns, 118 GPMG ammunition, 41 AK 47 live ammunition, 19 G3 ammunition, one cut-to-size locally made double-barrel and one locally-made double-barrel guns.
Abattam added that four locally-made pistols, four locally-made explosive devices, military and police uniforms, Biafran flags, four ESN caps, one pair of police boot, various types of hard drugs and some police accoutrements were also recovered.
Also recovered, according to him, were four live tortoises, large quantities of weeds, suspected to be Cannabis, and red cloth.
He added: “After the successful raid, the operatives while leaving the camp were ambushed some distance away by the hoodlums, who engaged them in another gun duel.
“During the exchange of gun fire, the operatives were able to subdue them 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.”
Abattam stated that the hoodlums, realising that they suffered a heavy defeat, went for reprisal attack in the villages, burning houses belonging to both serving and retired police officers and other security agencies.
He stated that houses belonging to persons suspected to be informants to security agencies were also destroyed.
He stated that police had beefed up security in the area in order to protect people’s lives and property.
According to him, efforts are in top gear to arrest the fleeing suspects.
Abattam quoted the Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Barde, to have appealed to the Hunters Association in the area to collaborate with security agencies by giving them information on criminal hideouts noticed in the bushes.
He said: “He advised that communities should not allow their areas to be used as safe haven for the committance of heinous crimes.
“He also urged them to report to the nearest police station, suspicious activities or any person seen to be treating bullet wounds.”
Abattam further stated that the command could be reached with genuine information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects through 08034773600 or 08098880197.