By Sumaila Ogbaje
ABUJA – Security operatives have eliminated scores of criminals linked to the outlawed Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and their Eastern Security Network (ESN) counterparts.
The Defence Headquarters said in Abuja on Thursday that the criminals were eliminated in the Southeast and parts of the South-South.
Acting Director, Defence Media Operation, Brig.-Gen. Bernard Onyeuko told newsmen that the criminals were eliminated in different operations between June 3 and June 16.
Onyeuko said that the military and other security agencies had contained several IPOB/ESN activities such as attacks on police stations, the killing of security operatives and civilians as well as the destruction of properties in the zones.
He said that the operatives raided the hoodlums’ hideouts at Ukpong in Obot Akara Local Government Area of Akwa-Ibom on June 4 and dislodged the criminals.
He added that on the same day, the troops engaged and repelled some IPOB/ESN hoodlums who attacked Okposi town in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi and the Criminal Investigation Department, Abia Police Command.
“Similarly, on June 5, troops repelled IPOB hoodlums’ attack on commuters along Igbo-Etiti – Nsukka Road in Enugu State.
“In another development on the same day, troops tracked and apprehended some hoodlums who vandalised and stole railroad sleepers at Nkwubor Road within Emene in Enugu East Local Government Area of the state,” he said.
The spokesperson also said that the Federal Government had engaged in an extra-ordinary non-kinetic approach to the seemingly intractable security challenges in the Southeast.
He said that the Minister of Defence retired Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, on June 11, led a delegation to Enugu for a security meeting with stakeholders in the geopolitical zone.
According to him, the minister was accompanied by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbeshola and the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, as well as representatives of the service chiefs.
“During the summit, a whole range of security challenges were discussed with governors of the Southeast states, religious leaders, traditional rulers, opinion leaders and other stakeholders in attendance.
“The discussions and decisions reached at the end of the security summit were far-reaching and would go a long way in bringing peace to the region,’’ he said.
Onyeuko said that in the Southwest zone, troops of Operation AWATSE had sustained their operations against criminal elements to restore law and order to troubled areas.
He said that the troops repelled armed herdsmen attack at Igangan community in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State on June 5.
According to him, troops mobilised to the scene and engaged the herdsmen, during which some of them were neutralised while others fled with gunshot wounds.
He said that the troops raided some criminals’ hideouts at Ona-Ara Local Government Area of the state and arrested suspects on June 7.
Onyeuko said the suspects had been handed over to appropriate prosecuting agencies for further action. (NAN)