The Imo State Police Command has announced the arrest of 26 sit-at-home enforcers suspected of being members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The suspects, who were apprehended on Wednesday, were accused of randomly shooting and attacking people celebrating a birthday in a hotel near Irete.
The state’s Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Ahmed Barde, told journalists in Owerri that operatives of the command’s tactical team, working in collaboration with operatives of the 18 Police Mobile Force, were quickly mobilised to the scene after civic-minded residents reported seeing IPOB members in a hotel (name withheld) at Catering bus stop, Free Zone, Irete.
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Barde said, “Unfortunately, a lifeless body, later identified as Remigius Emeka Njoku, a relative to the celebrant, was seen lying on the floor in his pool of blood. The outlawed IPOB and ESN unlawful sit-at-home enforcers immediately opened fire on sighting police operatives, but they were overwhelmed by the dexterity, stiff resistance, and superior firepower of the police, which forced them to flee to the adjourning bush with various degrees of gunshot injuries.”
He said further: “On combing the hotel and nearby bush, traces of blood were seen, which suggested that some of these terrorists were hit.
“During the search around the hotel, one AK-47 rifle, 48 rounds of live ammunition, four pump-action guns, 18 rounds of live cartridges, two AK-47 magazines, and a face mask were recovered. A total of 26 suspects were arrested; they are still undergoing thorough screening.”
The police boss added that “investigation is ongoing, and certainly the suspects will be arraigned in court upon the conclusion of a diligent investigation.”