The Enugu State Police Command has raided the camp of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra and its armed wing, Eastern Security Network, in Agu-Ibeje forest, Enugu-Ezike, Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of the state.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, Daniel Ndukwe, on Tuesday.
The statement revealed that the Command’s Tactical Squads and Operation Restore Peace carried out a tactical and intelligence-driven dusk to dawn raid on the IPOB/ESN camp between August 11 and 12.
According to Ndukwe, the raid was in pursuance of the crime-fighting strategies devised by the state Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Lawal.
He said the hoodlums, on sighting the police operatives, engaged them in a gun duel, which led to the neutralisation of one of them.
The police spokesman said that several others escaped with varying degrees of fatal gunshot wounds, due to the superior firepower of the operatives.
He said: “The operation led to the discovery and exhumation, from a shallow grave in the camp, of the corpse of their victim identified as Johnson Okpanachi, a Police Officer serving in Igbo-Eze North Police Division.
“Okpanachi had gone missing on July 30, with all efforts made to trace his whereabouts proving abortive.
“Items recovered at the Camp included 12 firearms, including one AR-K2 Assault rifle, six pump action guns, one locally-made Berretta-like pistol and five locally-fabricated double-barreled guns.”
Ndukwe disclosed that 98 live cartridges, two machetes, one digger, one battle axe and one hacksaw were recovered.
According to Ndukwe, five motor vehicles, including three Toyota Sienna mini vans, one Honda Pilot Jeep and one Hiace (Hummer) bus loaded with assorted Ankara fabrics were also retrieved.
The police spokesman said all the items recovered were snatched from their owners at different times within the area by the hoodlums.
He added that 20 different brands of motorcycles with their number plates removed, one police bullet-proof vest, one pair of police camouflage uniform, one pair of military camouflage uniform with a cap and military singlet were found in the camp.
He listed several other items including the Biafra flag, 22 different brands of mobile phones among others.
In a related development, police operatives on August 8 at about 9:15am recovered two AK-47 rifles, all loaded with 64 rounds of 7.62mm caliber of live ammunition, which are currently in the custody of 82 Division of the Nigerian Army.
Ndukwe added: “Other things recovered are one locally-made cut-to-size gun, one dane gun, one Lexus RX 330 and one RX 300 Jeeps, one Honda Pilot Jeep, 25 machetes, two axes, one dagger, four phones, a military camouflage uniform, two forest uniform trousers and fetish items suspected to be charms.
“The recovery is sequel to the police swift response to a distress call alleging that IPOB/ESN terrorists invaded and set ablaze the house of a local vigilante at Oduma community in Aninri Local Government Area on the date.”
Ndukwe said that the Commissioner commended police operatives for the successful execution of the operations without any casualty recorded by the command.
The police spokesman said that the CP also charged them to remain focused in actualising the overall goal of ridding the state of unrepentant criminal elements.
The PPRO said the CP called on residents to remain law-abiding, vigilant and support the command with credible information or intelligence required to combat criminals and their activities.
“I enjoin individuals and owners of medical facilities to quickly report anyone sighted with gunshot injuries to the nearest police station or personnel,” he added.