Operatives of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) have reportedly invaded the camp of Fulani herdsmen in Isiukwuato, Abia State, chasing them away and killing dozens of their cows.
In a video shared by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, and seen by SaharaReporters, ESN operatives were seen burning houses and cows allegedly belonging to the herdsmen.
“Video of men at work last night across all the towns and villages of the old Bende Division, especially Isiukwuato,” Kanu captioned the video shared on his Facebook page.
“ESN has commenced the combing of parts of Isiukwuato forests last night and engagement with the enemy is ongoing and will continue until they no longer present a threat to our communities along that axis.
“Our intel so far has revealed that those terrorising Isiukwuato are rogue elements in the Nigerian Army & police who pass on their victims to Fulani killer herdsmen. #ESN shall find and neutralise these murderers and kidnappers in the coming days, be rest assured.”
A lady was also heard in the video accusing the Fulani of being behind the rising insecurity in the Eastern region.
“We are here to tell these idiots, these stupid Fulani that this place is not for them, they must leave our land. We are formidable, we have dealt with them, their cows are dead, we have chased them away,” she said.
“They should leave our land, there is no place for them. We cannot allow you to stay in our land, you kill our people, you rape our women, you think you will go scot free, there is no place for you. These are their houses, we are setting fire on (sic) it. They should leave our land.”
Kanu had in December 2020 launched ESN to protect the people of South-East and South-South regions from terrorists and bandits allegedly trooping in from the North.
The IPOB leader described the outfit as a replica of the Western Nigeria Security Network, also known as Amotekun, earlier launched by the governors of the South-West to curb insecurity in the region.
“The sole aim and objective of this newly formed security outfit known as Eastern Security Network is to halt every criminal activity and terrorist attack on Biafraland,” Kanu had said.
“This outfit, which is a vigilante group like the Amotekun in the South-West and the Miyetti Allah security outfit, will ensure the safety of our forests and farmland which terrorists have converted into slaughter grounds and raping fields.”
SaharaReporters reported that the military search had been ongoing for days, and had no time frame, as the army was acting on "orders from above."
From drones and hidden cameras believed to be installed by the ESN, a video captured the Nigerian Army helicopters and their vehicles and soldiers searching for the camp of the ESN to make arrests.
However, there have been clashes between the military and ESN operatives in Orlu, Imo State, leading to the death of at least five persons.
Recently, it was also learnt that some Nigerian soldiers resigned and joined the ESN, on the grounds that the ESN, being funded by both international and local donors, had better welfare packages for its officers than the military.
“The Kanu ESN boys are not a bunch of rookies and untrained fellows brandishing guns. I personally know five guys from my hometown in Anambra State who left the Nigerian Army to join the ESN. Two of them were formerly serving in Operation Lafiya Dole, Borno State, before they quit.
“We are being reliably informed that there are other soldiers, particularly of the South-East extraction, who will soon leave for other various reasons and they are likely to be recruited into the fold,” a military source told SaharaReporters.
In July 2012, about 356 soldiers in the North-East and other theatres of operation had resigned from the army – some on voluntary retirement, while others cited loss of interest as their reason for disengagement.