Juliana Francis

The Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Ahmed Barde, said the command under his watch has arrested nine suspected members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its militia affiliate, Eastern Security Network (ESN) and one of their sector commanders.

Barde, who said that the command will not relent in stemming the tide of terrorism in the state, said explained that the arrest was a sequel to the attack and murder of four policemen in the state.

It will be recalled that the policemen on patrol attached to Ngor-Okpala/Mbaise Area Command at  Ngor-Okpala, Imo State on the 21st of April, 2023, were attacked and killed by hoodlums suspected to be members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its militia affiliate, Eastern Security Network (ESN).

Barde, after an on-the-spot assessment of the incident, directed the Command’s tactical teams to commence a detailed investigation and manhunt to unravel the perpetrators of the dastardly act.

Acting on the CP’s directives, a detachment of the Command’s tactical team on the 24th of April 2023, at about 5:30 PM, after a diligent gathering of credible intelligence, arrested one Mathew Chuwkwuma 48, Mpam Ahaizu Mbaise LGA, Imo State, in his hideout at Umuahia, Abia State.

The Imo State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), an Assistant Superintendent of Police, Henry Okoye, said: “He confessed to being the Sector Commander of a dreadful IPOB/ESN syndicate in Mbaise and assisted the curious operatives in arresting three of his syndicate namely, Ojoko Ikechukwu, 53, of Umugwa, Chilaka Charles, 44, of Umuezuo, and Anthony Iwu, 50, of Umugwa all in Umuokiria, Ahaizu Mbaise LGA of Imo State in their Criminal hideout while others escaped.

“On searching the suspects and their hideout the following incriminating items were recovered. One cut-to-size AK 47 rifle, 190 rounds of live 7.62 mm Ammunition, two AK 47 magazines, two cut-to-size double barrel guns, and one locally fabricated Berretta pistol were recovered from the Terrorist hideout.

“In the course of the investigation, the suspects all confessed to being members of the dreadful IPOB/ESN syndicate terrorizing the good people of Imo State and had a hand in the recent killing of four Police officers and two civilians at Ngor Okpala.

“They volunteered crucial information that assisted the determined operatives on the 27th of April 2023 at about 12:40 am, in raiding their second hideout/shrine in Itu, Ezinitte Mbaise LGA Imo State which led to the arrest of four other notorious IPOB/ESN suspects famous on the command’s wanted list due to their nefarious activities.”

Okoye explained that on sighting the Operatives, the notorious criminal syndicate engaged them in a fierce gun duel but were overpowered by the superior firepower of the combat-ready tactical squad which forced them to disarray and resulted in the arrest of four other suspects namely, Ibe Demian, 50, Iwuala Simon, 31, both of Neme Mpam Ahaizu Mbaise LGA of Imo State.

Also arrested are Nwabueze Ahiwe, 47, of Onicha Ezinititte Mbaise LGA of Imo State and Obali Paul, 70, of Itu Ezinihitte Mbaise LGA of Imo State, who is the Chief Priest of the Criminal Syndicate while others escaped with various degrees of bullet injuries.

“On searching their second hideout which also serves as a shrine where they perform fetish rituals, one AK 47 rifle, three pump action guns, two single barrel locally made guns, one locally made pistol, one cut to size gun, 50 rounds of 7.66mm live ammunition, 38 rounds of live cartridges, two AK 47 magazines, two locally made explosive devices, one iPhone, one H-mobile, Walkie-Talkie, three cow horns painted with Biafran Insignia, two Biafran Jewish caps, Jewish Flag, a large number of weeds suspected to be Cannabis Sativa other fetish object were recovered. Frantic investigating efforts are on top gear to arrest other syndicate members at large and make them face the full wrath of the law,” said Okoye.

The CP, while commending the operatives for a job well done, stressed the fact that policing was a collective responsibility.

He appealed to Imolites to join hands with the Police and other sister security agencies in the crusade against Terrorism and to report any suspicious activity or person seen with or treating gunshot injury to the nearest Police Station.


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