Chukwudi Akasike, Gibson Achonu and Chidiebube Okeoma
The 10 local government areas of Imo West Senatorial District (Orlu) where there was bloody clash between soldiers and members of the Independent People of Biafra’s Eastern Security Network occurred on Monday have been taken over by soldiers.
Recall that a dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed on the councils by Governor Hope Uzodimma on Monday following the clash.
Our correspondent reported on Tuesday that shootings by the two warring groups had abated but residents were still in hiding.
Military vehicles were seen conveying soldiers from Owerri to Orlu which still wore the toga of a conquered territory, just as commercial were paralysed as movement of vehicles was restricted by policemen.
Apart from the police and soldiers, there was heavy presence of men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp.
T was gathered that the remains of the policeman killed had been moved to on undisclosed morgue.
The state police spokesperson, Orlando Ikeokwu, said the security agencies were enforcing the dusk-to-dawn curfew.
Ikeokwu said, “”Normalcy has returned to Orlu. Security operatives are enforcing the dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed by the state government.
“People should not panic. Law abiding citizens of the state should move about their legitimate businesses without fear.”
Army burnt our headquarters – MASSOB
Meanwhile, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra has accused the Nigerian Army of setting ablaze its headquarters in Mgbehie, Orlu LGA of Imo State.
Speaking in a telephone interview with The PUNCH on Tuesday, MASSOB’s National Director of Information, Mr. Sunday Okereafor, also said soldiers, who should have faced persons bearing guns, decided to open fire on innocent civilians.
He said, “The Nigerian Army burnt MASSOB headquarters in Mgbehie. But we are telling the Nigerian Army that we, MASSOB, are non-violent and that we are surprised that they went to our headquarters and burnt it.
“Our struggle for Biafra is peaceful and based on consultation and dialogue. We are telling the Nigerian Army to stop killing innocent civilians, who have nothing to do with the crisis. They should go after the people that are armed.
“By burning our headquarters, what they are doing is to push us to the wall, but they cannot bring us into this crisis. We don’t want any uproar in eastern Nigeria. We believe that Biafra will come peacefully. We are telling Nigerian Government to stop harassing MASSOB.
Also, the Igbo National Council in a statement by its National President, Chilos Goodsent has called on the military to halt the ongoing military operation in Imo State and the soldiers to places were herdsmen were killing and raping people.
The statement reads partly, “The soldiers were said to be avenging the death of their comrades who were alleged to have been killed by the ESN set-up by the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra.
“It may not be to the best interest of the Imo State and Federal Government of Nigeria to militarise any part of the Igbo Nation in disguise of fighting pro-Biafra agitators.
“We urge the Federal Government to immediately redeploy these soldiers ravaging Orlu communities to the various highways where the Fulani herdsmen are presently terrorising, raping and killing Nigerians.”