- Police blames “members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)/Eastern Security Network (ESN)”
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday condemned “the deadly insurgent attack that took place on the Police Command Headquarters and the Correctional Facility in Owerri, Imo State, on Monday, calling it an act of terrorism.”
Meanwhile, the Police said that the gunmen “are members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)/Eastern Security Network (ESN),” who had in the early hours of Monday attacked security operatives and formations including the Imo State Police Command Headquarters and the Headquarters of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCS) in Owerri.
The IPOB members had attacked the Police headquarters and Correctional facility, freeing prison inmates as they set fire on offices, structures and vehicles.
President Buhari, in a statement by his Spokesperson, Garba Shehu, “praised the initial response by security guards and security forces for preventing greater loss of life and the destruction of public property.
“The President directed security and intelligence agencies in the State and the geo-political zone to fully mobilize and go after the terrorists, apprehend them and get them punished under the full weight of the law.
“He also called for the best efforts to be made to rearrest fleeing prison detainees, many of whom are believed to be deadly criminals.
“President Buhari then appealed to members of the public to assist the law enforcement agencies with any relevant information that could lead to the apprehension of these criminals who perpetrated this despicable act.
“He also urged members of the public to be vigilant as all of us have a stake in preserving our way of life from disruption by terrorists and anarchists while the Federal Government will use every available tool at its disposal to confront and terminate this bare-faced anarchy.”
Already, Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the immediate deployment of additional units of Police Mobile Force (PMF) and other Police Tactical Squads to Imo State to strengthen security in the State and prevent further attacks on security formations or any other critical national infrastructure in the State.
According to a statement by Police Spokesperson, Frank Mba, “preliminary investigations have revealed that the attackers, who came in their numbers with sophisticated weapons such as General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs), Sub-Machine Guns (SMGs), AK49 rifles, Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs), Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), are members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)/Eastern Security Network (ESN).
“The attempt by the attackers to gain access to the Police armoury at the Headquarters was totally and appropriately resisted by Police operatives on duty who repelled the attackers and prevented them from breaking-in and looting the armoury. The armoury is thus intact! Similarly, the police suffered no human casualty, apart from a police Constable who sustained a minor bullet wound on his shoulder.
“Meanwhile, one of the operational vehicles of the attackers has been recovered by the Police and is currently being subjected to forensic scrutiny and investigations.
“The IGP, who condemned the attack on the security outfits, has further directed the Commissioner of Police, Imo State Command and a new Special Investigation Team (specifically set up to deal with cases of incessant attacks on security formation/operatives in the region), to carry out holistic investigations into the incident with a view to fishing-out the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.
“The CP is to harness the security reinforcement squads and other operational assets at his disposal to take the battle to the door-steps of the attackers and prevent any further attack anywhere within the State and its environs.
“The IGP, who described the deliberate and criminal attack on security operatives as an attack on the soul of our nation, has enjoined leaders in Imo State, the South-East and other parts of the country to speak out against the unfolding violence and criminality.
“The IGP calls on citizens to avail the Police and other security agencies with useful information that can assist in identifying and arresting the criminals. He vowed that the perpetrators will be brought to book, noting that the Force is doing all within its powers to curb the activities of unscrupulous elements hell-bent on threatening the unity, safety, security and socio-ecomomic wellbeing of Nigerians.”