TWO police officers and three men suspected of being members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) were killed during a major gun battle following an attack on Izombe Police Station in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State.
Over recent months, ESN operatives have been accused of causing mayhem across the southeast geo-political zone, attacking police stations, correctional facilities and Independent National Electoral College offices. In response, the federal government has stepped up security in the five states of the southeast, clamping down hard on ESN and its parent body the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob).
According to the Imo State Police Command, at around 2.45 am this morning, armed men attacked the police station in Oguta and a fierce gun battle ensued. Police spokesman Mike Abattam, said that the officers on duty successfully repelled the attack but sustained casualties during the shootout.
Mr Abattam added: “Armed bandits suspected to be members of the proscribed Ipob/ ESN terror group, came in their numbers to attack Izombe Police Station but could not gain access due to the swift response of the ever-alert Imo command’s tactical teams and personnel of Operation Restore Peace, who intercepted and repelled them. The bandits on sighting the police engaged them in a gun duel and were subdued due to the superior fire power of the police.
“They fled into the bush and in the process three of the bandits were neutralized and their arms, including one pump action gun with two rounds of live cartridges and one locally made double barrel pistol with two expended cartridges, were recovered, while others escaped with bullet wounds. Unfortunately, the command lost two of its gallant officers in the attack.
“Meanwhile, the tactical teams are presently in pursuit of the bandits and combing the bush for the arrest of them and possible recovery of their arms. The command is using this medium to call on the good people of Imo State, especially the Izombe community to assist the police with credible information that will lead to the arrest of the fleeing bandits and to report to the nearest police station any persons seen with bullet wounds.
“Also hospitals are advised to ensure that they report any persons who come to them for the treatment of bullet wounds.”