Imo Police Command has confirmed the killing of six suspected members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) that attempted to attack a traditional ruler’s palace.
The command’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mike Abattam, confirmed the incident in a statement issued in Owerri and made it available to newsmen on Monday.
Abattam said the bandits were intercepted and killed, while on their way to attack the palace of the Chairman of the Council of Traditional Rulers in the state.
The PPRO further stated that the operatives recovered a Toyota Hilux van and one pump action from the bandits.
“On May 16, at about 0800 hours at Orlu, hoodlums suspected to be members of the proscribed IPOB and its affiliate, Eastern Security Network (ESN), were sighted in their numbers in three Hilux vehicles, shooting sporadically.
“They fiercely advanced towards the Palace of Imo Chairman Council of Traditional Rulers, Dr E. Okeke to unleash terror therein.
“Upon receiving the information, the command’s tactical team, joined by the military, immediately mobilised and rushed to the palace.
“The hoodlums on sighting the combined team engaged it in a gun duel, throwing petrol bombs.
“The gallant team responded and positioned themselves professionally.
“In the exchange of gunfire that ensued, the hoodlums were overwhelmed due to the superior fire-power of the combined team.
“In the process, six of the hoodlums were neutralized.
“The team did not relent in their effort, they chased the hoodlums and recovered one pump action gun, three blood-stained machetes and three Hilux vans, suspected to have been snatched from innocent citizens,” Abattam stated.
He, however, added that calm had been restored in the area, while the corpses of the bandits had been removed and deposited in the mortuary.
He explained that no operative was killed but that a police vehicle got burnt from the fire that ignited from the petrol bomb.
“Meanwhile, efforts are in top gear to arrest other fleeing hoodlums,” the PPRO added.
According to him, security in Orlu and its environs has been beefed up to forestall any further attacks in the area.