Tag Archives: Eastern Security Network

ARSON, KILLINGS IN S-EAST: 34 Police, Army, Navy men killed in Anambra, Abia, Imo, C-River, 7 stations burnt

By Steve Oko, Vincent Ujumadu, Chinonso Alozie, Peter Okutu & Kennedy Mbele

Since December 2020, no fewer than seven police stations have been set ablaze while 34 security personnel were killed by gunmen in the wave of attacks on security men in the South-East, an investigation by Sunday Vanguard revealed.

The trend which spreads across states in the zone including Cross River State in the South-South is gaining traction daily.

At the moment, security agents in the area are living in palpable fear, as they are prone to attack at police stations, checkpoints and other duty posts.

The attacks on police formations and the killing of security personnel were reminiscent of the #EndSARS crisis, which saw the burning of over 205 police stations and the killing of over 60 policemen in 2020.

The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB, and hoodlums are suspected to be behind the attacks that have left police, navy and army personnel dead.

A clash between IPoB members and security agencies in Anambra State last year, which resulted in casualties on both sides, was gathered to be the remote cause of the latest killings.

According to a police source, the raiding of Eastern Nigeria Security Network, ESN, enclave in Orlu and a subsequent one in Ihiala this year, could be described as what may have aggravated the assaults on police formations in the region.

“Recall that there was a clash between IPoB members and the army last year, leading to casualties. That was followed by the raiding of their enclave in Orlu in 2021, which drove them out of the bush in Imo State. A police special team also went to Ihiala to take out some of their henchmen.

“This is why they are after security agents. They have resorted to the model Boko Haram used in its early days. Recall that Boko Haram started with the burning of police stations and the killing of security men. That is what we are beginning to see in the South-East.

“What they do is to kill policemen and other security agents and collect their weapons. Ever since we destroyed their camps in the bushes, they have started guerrilla warfare” the source said.

Of the five states in the South-East, Sunday Vanguard found Imo, Anambra and Abia as the flashpoints of what has become growing calculated attacks on security agents. Findings showed that none of such attacks has happened in Enugu within the time under review.

ABIA: 7 personnel, 2 stations, vehicles in 4 attacks

No fewer than seven policemen have been killed in Abia State since February 2021.

Besides personnel, two police stations have been razed in four separate attacks against police formations in the state.

Police Public Relations Officer PPRO in Abia, Mr. Geoffrey Ogbonna, in an interview with our Correspondent said one cop was killed when hoodlums attacked a police station at Omoba in Isialangwa South in February.

The station was also set on fire by the assailants.

Another attack on another police station at Abayi, Osisioma claimed two lives while the station and some cars at the premises were set ablaze.

According to the PPRO a police patrol team was attacked by unknown gunmen at Uratta junction Aba, resulting in the death of a cop while the patrol van was set on fire.

He further said that three policemen were attacked and killed at Abriba March 21 thus bringing the casualty figure to seven so far since this year.

On whether the police have affected any arrest in connection with the attacks, or are suspecting any group as perpetrators of attacks, the PPRO said investigations were still ongoing.

He described the situation as very bad and appealed to members of the public to volunteer any useful information that could help unmask the masterminds of the attacks.

On the impact of the attacks on their officers and men, the PPRO said despite the emotional effect on their personnel, the police would not abandon their duty post because of the incidents.

“ Police officers and men are human beings, they could be demoralised at the sight of their colleagues being killed but we can’t give up. It’ is not good to be hunted by the people you are being paid to protect.

“ But we keep encouraging our men not to lose morale,” he added.

Three policemen were killed on March 21, 2021, by suspected bandits in Abriba community, Ohafia LGA.

Two rifles were carted away. The officers who were identified as Inspector Austins Ugwu, Inspector Longinus Ugochukwu and Constable Ema Ifeanyi, were serving at Abriba Police Division. They were ambushed at Amaogudu Area, Abribe at 8.30am.

ANAMBRA: 10 security operatives dead, stations attacked

There is tension among security operatives in Anambra following the recent attacks, which left no fewer than 10 of them dead.

After the #EndSARS protests during which five police stations were burnt in parts of the state, normalcy returned and the security operatives resumed work at their duty posts.

But surprisingly, unknown gunmen attacked a checkpoint at Nkpologwu in Aguata Local Government Area,LGA, and Omogho in Orumba North LGA, killing four policemen. They took away their rifles and set their patrol van ablaze. The gunmen drove in a salon car and a black Mercedes Benz 4Matic SUV.

Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Monday Kuryas, ordered an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.

A senior police officer in the local government who confirmed the killing said: “Honestly, it was a black Wednesday in Anambra. I don’t know what those boys want to gain from this act

The next place the gunmen attacked was a police checkpoint at Neni in Anaocha local government area where they killed three policemen.

Navy

On the same day, they attacked a naval checkpoint at Awkuzu in Oyi LGA. Three naval ratings lost their lives.

Gunmen again attacked Ekwulobia Police Station in Aguata LGA and killed another policeman and two officials of Nigeria Correctional Service, NCS.

They also attempted to burn down the police but were stopped by policemen at the station.

Later, they attacked a bus conveying prison inmates to the court and killed two officials of NCS.

Recall that Ekwulobia Police station was among those that were completely razed during the #EndSARS protest and was only rebuilt recently.

After the Ekwulobia attack, gunmen again attempted to burn down a police station in Awka North LGA but were repelled by policemen.

The identity of the attackers is yet to be known, but one noticeable thing since the resurgence of the assaults in the state is the disappearance of policemen on the roads, apparently out of fear of further attacks.

These developments forced Governor Willie Obiano to make a statewide broadcast, warning that enough was enough.

The governor said: “Since these attacks commenced, I have personally coordinated security commanders in the state with a joint effort to halt this mayhem and by God’s, we will surely succeed. The State Security Council has met twice and I have summoned another emergency meeting.

“ I have therefore directed all security agencies in the state, the vigilante services, all task forces and every structure in the state security infrastructure to rise in defense of our dear state.”

However, since the governor’s broadcast, vehicles have been plying the roads in the state with tinted glasses without molestation.

IMO: More stations attacked

Since the #EndSaRs protests that saw the destruction of many police stations in Imo State, more police stations have been burnt.

Some of the police stations that have been attacked in the state include Aboh Mbaise Divisional Police Station, Umuelemai Divisional Police Station in Isiala LGA as well as Divisional Police station in Ishinweke, Ihitte-Uboma LGA.

Sunday Vanguard gathered that a female police officer sustained gunshot injuries at Aboh Mbaise. A policeman died in the Isiala Mbano attack while scores of police officers were said to have been injured at the Ihitte/Uboma burnt police station.

Multiple sources had linked the attacks to hoodlums and suspected members of ESN members.

On the Aboh Mbaise attack, the Police said, “some yet to be identified hoodlums in four vehicles, attacked the Divisional Police headquarters, Aboh Mbaise, shooting sporadically . The officers on duty engaged them in a gun duel, at the end of the melee, one Policewoman sustained gunshot injury and was taken to the hospital for treatment.”

Also, on the Isiala Mbano incident, the police said: “On the 20/03/21, at about18:30 pm hoodlums, whose number could not be ascertained, attacked the Divisional Police Hqrs, Isiala Mbano, shooting sporadically. Operatives of the Division successfully repelled them. After the encounter, it was discovered that the hoodlums destroyed some doors and windows.

“No arm (s) was taken away. Regrettably, one Inspector, who was on duty at the time of the attack, gave up the ghost while receiving treatment as a result of injuries sustained during the melee.”

However, the Ihitte Uboma police station was set ablaze as a result of a clash between a suspect from the community and police officers.

Umulowo

There was tension in Umulowo, Imo State, on February 6 after gunmen attacked a police station in the area, killing some police officers and carting away their arms. No fewer than two police officers were said to have lost their lives in the attack which happened very early in the morning, causing villagers to scamper for safety.

Two policemen were reportedly killed while three others sustained varying degrees of injury as bandits attacked the Divisional Police Headquarters in Oromo Obowu LGA of Imo State. It was gathered that the invading bandits lost one of their members in the attack but they ran away with the corpse of the deceased before retreating.

EBONYI: 10 police stations

During the #EndSARS crisis, no fewer than 10 police stations were burnt. However, the state has witnessed attacks on police stations afterward.

On February 5, hoodlums attacked the Police Divisional Headquarters in Isu, Onicha LGA of Ebonyi State. Apart from the station that was razed, four patrol vehicles were set ablaze. Ine policeman sustained a machete cut injury.

Similarly, gunmen in military uniform on March 1, 2021, attacked the Iboko Police Station in Izzi LGA. The attackers were said to have set the station ablaze using bombs and grenades.

CROSS RIVER:

On February 26, in Calabar, hoodlums killed four police officers and carted away their rifles. The incident happened along Akai Effa-Idundu Road. The incident was followed by a similar one on March 4 as gunmen killed six police officers and a soldier at a checkpoint in Obubura on the Calabar-Ikom-Highway.

Herdsmen, bandits

Speaking on the development, a security expert and Founder of Lions Protection and Signals, Mr. Callistus Emenike, told Sunday Vanguard that government must be cautious in handling the situation to prevent it from spiraling out of control.

He accused government of what he called nurturing insurgency in the South-East.

“Borno will be a child’s play if government pushes IPoB into resorting to guerilla warfare. The Igbo man is peaceful but the policy of exclusion of this government is what brought this manner of insecurity. I condemn the killings in their entirety and call on those responsible to desist forthwith, but government must function for all Nigerians. A government that labels IPoB as a terrorist group, but dines with killer herdsmen and bandits, isn’t being sincere.”

On why security agents are the targets, he said: “We have a police force that hasn’t reclaimed the space it lost to #EndSARS. The same applies to other security agencies. That is in addition to the animosity between them and IPoB. When you combine both, the reason isn’t difficult to know. Government must know that it’s easier and better to nip what is happening in the bud.”

VIDEO: Army lays siege on Orlu as they search for members of Eastern Security Network

A video uploaded on Twitter has shown aircrafts apparently belonging to the Nigerian military flying across a village in Orlu, Imo State.

A twitter user @EmekaGift who shared the video said the military stormed the village in search of the members of Eastern Security Network, ESN, hiding in the bushes.

This is happening few weeks after the Army and the ESN clashed in Orlu. In the video, one could hear voices of the villagers shouting in fear, as well as the sound of the air aircrafts belonging to the military.

Jungle Journalist Media Ltd also learnt in another report “Many innocent people have been killed with air strikes. We also learnt that market places were affected”.

See the video:https://twitter.com/EmekaGift/status/1362367329087197185?s=20

BREAKING: 5 killed as army invade Orlu, burn 10 buildings, church over IPOB security

Operatives of the Nigerian Army on Monday again attacked residents of Okporo, Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State, killing about five persons.

Jungle Journalist Media Ltd can confirm that many persons were also injured when the soldiers stormed the community suspected to be the operational base of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) security outfit, Eastern Security Network (ESN).

The attack by the soldiers was said to be a reprisal after members of the ESN engaged them in a shootout last Friday.
It was gathered that one person died at the community market square during the security operation last Friday.

Also, about 10 buildings, including a church, Blessed Holy Trinity Sabbath Mission, were allegedly set ablaze by the soldiers.

“They came back today and started killing our people, I can’t confirm the number of casualties now but they are more than five. They were here last Friday and killed one person at the market square.

About 10 buildings were also burnt by these masked security agents on Friday.

“Imo State is not safe presently; Governor Hope Uzodinma shouldn’t allow soldiers to kill all his people,” a source said.

IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, had in December 2020 launched ESN to protect the people of South-East and South-South regions from terrorists and bandits allegedly trooping in from the North.

Kanu described the outfit as a replica of the Western Nigeria Security Network, also known as Amotekun, earlier launched by the governors of the South-West to curb insecurity in the region.

“The sole aim and objective of this newly formed security outfit known as Eastern Security Network is to halt every criminal activity and terrorist attack on Biafraland,” Kanu had said.

“This outfit, which is a vigilante group like the Amotekun in the South-West and the Miyetti Allah security outfit, will ensure the safety of our forests and farmland which terrorists have converted into slaughter grounds and raping fields.”

He added that the establishment of the security outfit became necessary following what he described as the “failure” of the governors of the South-South and South-East to put in place measures to protect the people in those regions.

Earlier reports had it that the Nigerian Army had deployed combat helicopters, gun trucks and soldiers to search some forests in the South-East states where the ESN was suspected to be camping.

The military search had been ongoing for days, and had no time frame, as the army was acting on “orders from above.”
From drones and hidden cameras believed to be installed by the ESN, a video captured the Nigerian Army helicopters and their vehicles and soldiers searching for the camp of the ESN to make arrests.

Recently, it was learnt that some Nigerian soldiers resigned and joined the ESN, on the grounds that the ESN, being funded by both international and local donors, had better welfare packages for its officers than the military.

“The Kanu ESN boys are not a bunch of rookies and untrained fellows brandishing guns. I personally know five guys from my hometown in Anambra State who left the Nigerian Army to join the ESN. Two of them were formerly serving in Operation Lafiya Dole, Borno State, before they quit.

“We are being reliably informed that there are other soldiers, particularly of the South-East extraction, who will soon leave for other various reasons and they are likely to be recruited into the fold,” a military source stated.

In July 2012, about 356 soldiers in the North-East and other theatres of operation had resigned from the army – some on voluntary retirement, while others cited loss of interest as their reason for disengagement.

The soldiers had written to the army chief, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, on July 3, 2020, under Reference NA/COAS/001, quoting the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service soldiers/rating/airmen (Revised) 2017.

The approval of the voluntary disengagement of the 356 soldiers was contained in a 17-page circular from Buratai, AHQ DOAA/G1/300/92, signed by Brig Gen T.E. Gagariga for the army chief.
Again, this January, another batch of 127 soldiers resigned from the Nigerian Army and are due to leave by May.

They comprised one Master Warrant Officer, three Warrant Officers, 22 Staff Sergeants, 29 Sergeants, 64 Corporals, seven Lance Corporals and one Private.

A cross-section of Nigerians criticised the Nigerian Army for deploying aircraft and gun trucks to locate Kanu’s ESN camp, saying it was a misplaced priority in the security challenges facing the country.

A few others, however, supported the military saying the ESN could become a regional security threat since the South-East governors had also dissociated themselves from the outfit.

On Twitter, several Nigerians believed that the military action was a misplaced priority and such enthusiasm and energy were not seen in the North-East against the Boko Haram terrorists nor against the bandits in the North-West.

Before it’s too late: Emeka Kalu reacts to Eastern Security Network

Last week, precisely 12th of December, 2020, we were greeted with surprise (though not unexpected), of the launching of a new security outfit called Eastern Security Network by the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. The display was a full military parade that got me thinking aloud, where are we heading to in Nigeria out of our own lackadaisical attitude towards every sensitive issue?

The part that surprised me most was the staggering truth that this is a result of failed system under the auspices of APC and President Buhari who in their wisdom and inaction had put Nigeria to the option of self defense to keep existing when insecurity of lives and properties have become a certain culture, a norm.

It brought us down to the reality that if the Eastern Governors had acted promptly to set up even a local vigilante to compliment our ever ready police, we wouldn’t have got to this pedestrian, the dilemma of this oversight is that this IPOB outfit has been greeted with much accolade and acceptance that any attempt to quash it will be counter productive, that means we are all sitting on top of a ticking time bomb built by our own hands.

This same cluelessness of the center dominated and controlled by the North in a bid to show strength above other regions as people in total control had equipped and empowered Hisbah Security and legalized it even when the same Government under the care of Northerners were against regional policing. A case of ‘different strokes for different folks’ while hunting down and incarcerating IPOB, pardoning repentant Boko Haram soldiers, they also unleashed the Fulani Herdsmen who brandish sophisticated weapons in a country where arm is not legalized. The said herdsmen maim, kill, rape and attack people at will since 2015 without any condemnation from the Federal Government. They sack villages and move on as if nothing happened.

Irked by this lopsided treatment of other citizens by the Northern folks, Yoruba people of the Western Region who feel threatened, birthed Amoteken, which has come to stay.

The political class of the South East continued to sound politically correct not to offend the Northern region and didn’t act, yet within her ranks lived those who placed lives over political interests and today we have the Eastern Security Network.

That is not even the least of my concern at the time being. My trouble stem from the fact that while Nigeria is battling with Boko Haram in the North whom we are yet to know the source of their sophisticated weapons, the bandits operating in the same North are not less armed.

Yesterday I watched a troubling video where Nigerians were asking questions “How were the ESN suddenly armed with AK47 within days of formation”, even as Amotekun, Hisbah, Niger Delta Avengers, etc are all armed?

It will be foolhardy for the present government to believe that all these issues will just varnish without concrete solution. It will be even worse mistake for the North to think they can continue to hold unto power endlessly in the present condition of Nigeria without consequences. This is time for retrospection.

I believe that the best thing the North can do at this material time is to yield to the call for dialogue and possible restructuring of the system where everyone’s interests can be protected in peaceful manner rather than endlessly living in a false unity that has only retrogressed us.

The fact remains that Nigerians are not giving in their best to build her as a result of the sense of alienation prevalent in the polity where others believe the nation is for the North while the North believe it is their right to lead in perpetuity.

The sanest approach now is for the North to rally support for Nigeria President of Igbo extraction come 2023. I am of strong belief that once this compromise is reached, it will give the Southerners a new sense of belonging that change is possible and this will give room for true dialogue, reconciliation and progress.

I have not given up on hope that most of the daunting challenges being faced in Nigeria will naturally resolve itself when every entity works in favour of Nigeria with the commitment and belief that tribes exist for Nigeria and not the other way round.

Chief Emeka Kalu is the National Coordinator PDPCO and Southeast Director, Reset Nigeria Group.