Imo State command of the Nigeria Police says it repelled, in conjunction with troops of the Nigerian Army and some other security agents, a planned attack on Owerri, the state capital, by suspected members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and neutralized Joseph Uka Nnachi (alias King of Dragons), the notorious mastermind of the series of attacks that had been launched in the area.
In a statement by the spokesman of the command, SP Bala Elkana, the command said the hoodlums had planned to make the day a black Sunday for residents of the city, but that its operatives successfully repelled the attack.
It added that four other members of the gang were also killed together with Nnachi.
According to the command, the attackers, operating in a white Hummer bus, attempted to access the Command Headquarters through Works Layout around Alvan Nursery and Primary School Owerri, but had a bloody fight with the security forces.
It said the hoodlums were first intercepted by the military at the outer perimeter cordon provided for the police, and five of them were killed in action (KIA), including Joseph Uka Nnachi.
“One suspect, Stanley Osinachi, 30, of Achi/Mberi, Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo State, was arrested and is presently aiding investigation,” Elkana said.
He said the suspect confirmed that the late ‘Dragon’ is the leader of the gang in Imo State, reporting to their supreme leader, Nnamdi Kanu; and that they belong to the proscribed IPOB and Eastern Security Network (ESN).
Four AK-47rifles with 2000 rounds of live ammunition, and large number of explosives were recovered from the scene.
According to the police spokesman, the rifles’ breech numbers were crossed-checked and found to be the same police rifles that were stolen by the hoodlums from the police station at Omuma on 31st May, 2021, during which four policemen were killed.
Other items recovered from the hoodlums include: Assault Rifle (AR) Breach N0: 03018058; Assualt (AR) Rifle Breach N0: 070007055; Assualt (AR) Rifle Breach N0: 5801297; six locally fabricated explosive devices; police beret; seven A-47 magazines fully loaded, and one military cap.
Others are one military cardigan (polo), one silver-coloured mini bus with registration number WAM-8673 B ABD; and one Hummer bus with registration number KED-382 X laden with explosive devices.
The Commissioner of Police, Imo State Command, Abutu Yaro, has commended the gallant effort of the security forces who stood firm and put their lives on the line in this accomplishment.
He also condoled with families of policemen that lost their lives in the hands of these terror gangs over the last few weeks and those that sustained various degrees of injuries, describing them as “the real heroes.”
The Commissioner of Police also thanked the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, for supporting the command with the necessary resources used in combating the deadly gang.
He also thanked the government and people of Imo State for their support and undiluted trust in the ability of the police to restore peace to the state.
The police chief also appreciated the armed forces and the Department of State Services, which he said had constantly fed the joint operation with credible intelligence while the military has consistently provided defence and outer cover to the police.
He called on all those in possession of weapons stolen from security agencies to return them to the nearest police station or military installation not later than 12th June 2021, to prevent the long arm of the law from catching up with them.