The Nigerian Army and the police intelligence response team have stormed houses in the Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State and Igbo-Eze community to arrest suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and Eastern Security Network officials in a house-to-house raid.
SaharaReporters learnt that the raid started on Monday with many residents reporting that their family members, mostly young men, have been picked and taken away to undisclosed locations for questioning.
SaharaReporters gathered that the military and the police carried out a similar operation in Owerri adjoining communities in Imo State and the Igwuocha area of Rivers State.
“There was a shoot-out on Douglas Road, Owerri, yesterday between the army, the police and unknown gunmen who are said to be aggrieved over the indiscriminate arrests. The army personnel are all over Onicha-Igboeze LGA and are going from house to house picking up suspected IPOB members and their families,” a source stated.
“Some of our brothers were abducted here in Igwuocha and in Borokiri (Rivers State) by the police who tagged them unknown gunmen. Our people are seriously under attack,” another source confirmed.
SaharaReporters had on Saturday reported that the Nigerian Army would be having a seven-day showdown with the IPOB and ESN in an apparent show of force and had moved in new ammunition and explosives into the 34 Artillery Brigade in Obinze, near Owerri in Imo State.
SaharaReporters had learnt from reliable military sources that the army planned to blow off some of its expired military hardware, including explosives, in order to create panic for the IPOB and ESN militants and wade them off security stations.
The 34 brigade also confirmed this on Friday, saying the use of explosives would last from May 14 to May 21.
SaharaReporters had also last Friday reported that the Nigerian military had drafted reinforcement troops from some of its formations fighting insurgency in Borno State to join the troops in the South-East region over the military’s clash with IPOB and ESN operatives.
Military sources had confirmed to SaharaReporters that the reinforcements were drawn from some battalions including the 231 Tank Battalion in Biu, Borno State, which is under the 3 Armoured Division, Jos, Plateau State.
“Yes, some troops are moving from the North-East to the South-East as reinforcements. They started moving from Wednesday. Among them are those from the 231 Tank Battalion; they are believed to be more trained in quelling uprisings,” a top source had confirmed.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday held a meeting with the service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police at the Presidential villa, Abuja, telling them to adopt certain security measures in the South-East and the South-South geopolitical zones of the country.