The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on Tuesday justified the clash between its security outfit – the Eastern Security Network (ESN) – and the military.
It also claimed that five residents of Okporo community in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State were killed when ESN men clashed with soldiers last Friday.
Though the Army said only one person died in the crossfire, IPOB insisted that five people were killed and several others were injured in the skirmish between the security outfit and soldiers drawn from the 34 Artillery Brigade in Obinze.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by IPOB’s spokesman Emma Powerful, the group accused Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma of working with the Army to attack and flush out ESN officers from the bushes where they are operating from.
The statement reads: “ESN personnel are in the bush and forest chasing…terrorists and herdsmen who are over there terrorising and perpetrating crimes ranging from kidnappings, killings, rape to invasion of farmlands with their cattle in the South-east region looking for ESN’s trouble because we will not watch them killing our people.
“Since the formation and inauguration of ESN by our great leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, on December 12, 2020, they have been inside the bushes and forests; their job is to protect farmers from invaders who made pronouncements that all lands in Nigeria belong to them.
“Every time, Nigerian Army and the police would come and look for their trouble in the bush,” he said, adding that the group will resist any attempt to clamp down on its members.
He accused some Southeast leaders, including Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma of aligning with the military to attack ESN and for giving our large potion of aches of land to herdsmen and Nigeria army to guild them.
Powerful said members of the IPOB were not impressed by the 6 pm-6 am curfew declared by the governor.
The governor, in a statement by his spokesman Oguwike, said the dusk-to-dawn curfew was declared following disturbing report on the activities of a group of militants that unleashed mayhem on Orlu residents.