Imo State police command says, on 12/12/2022 at about 3.30am, armed bandits suspected to be members of the Proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed affiliate, Eastern Security Network (ESN) in their numbers, went to the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) office along Port-Harcourt Road, New Owerri, shooting sporadically, and threw improvised explosives into the premises of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from a Petroleum Filling Station that shares fence with the Commission.
The police operatives on guard, professionally took vantage positions, engaged the hoodlums in a fierce gun battle. The hoodlums who were overwhelmed by the superior fire power of the police operatives, took to their heels, abandoning a Lexus RX330 Jeep with registration number IMO WER-82LZ.
According to a statement from spokesman of lmo police command, CSP Michael Abattam, “the hoodlums sped off in their other vehicles towards Onitsha Road and were given a hot chase by the operatives.
On getting to Ogbaku along Onitsha Road, the hoodlums, again engaged the police operatives in a more fierce gun duel and in the process, three of the hoodlums were neutralized and two others arrested with various degrees of bullet injuries, while others scampered for safety into the nearby communities.
On searching the scene and the abandoned vehicles, the following items were recovered: three AK-47 rifles, four Pump action guns, three (3) Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), Four (4) locally made bombs, One (1) axe, Three (3) vehicles, various types of charms, One (1) Red Beret, Five (5) native caps, Three (3) phones of different makes, Two (2) Walkie Talkie, Three (3) ATM cards, Eight (8) cartridges, One (1) A.A ammunition and Two (2) bunch of keys.
At the INEC office, two offices were affected by the explosives and petrol bomb; however the main building remains intact.
The corpses of the neutralized hoodlums and that of the two police operatives who paid the supreme price, were evacuated and deposited at the Federal Medical Centre Owerri and another operative who sustained bullet wound on his leg was rushed to the hospital for treatment and is in a stable condition.
Meanwhile, concerted efforts are being made to arrest the fleeing suspects since they cannot go far, due to the various degrees of injuries they sustained in the gun duel.
The Commissioner of Police, Imo Command, CP Mohammed Ahmed Barde, while commending the officers and men for their gallantry, commensurate with the families of the deceased officers and enjoined the good people of the State not to relent in collaborating with security agencies especially in giving credible and timely information to the Police . He then, appealed to Imolites to report suspicious activities or any person(s) seen treating bullet wounds within their communities to the nearest police station or call the Command’s emergency numbers: 08034773600 or 08098880197.