Police arrest 18 suspects over killing of DPO, inspector in Imo

THE Imo state Police command has arrested 18 suspected members of the proscribed Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) over the killing of two officers at Ahiara Junction in Ahiazu-Mbaise local government area of the state.

The officers have been identified as the divisional Police officer (DPO) in charge of Ahiazu Mbaise and an inspector of Police.

The two officers who stopped to refuel their vehicles at BOEK fuel station on Monday, November 27, were attacked by gunmen dressed in military camouflage.

A statement by the Police public relations officer (PPRO), Henry Okoye, on Tuesday, November 28, confirmed that the hoodlums, suspected to be members of the proscribed IPOB and the group’s security arm – the Eastern Security Network (ESN) – swooped on the officers with three vehicles and motorcycles while shooting sporadically.

Although the PPRO stated that the Police officers fought gallantly to resist the attack, they were killed in the ensuing gun duel.

The DPO and inspector of Police died while two other officers survived the attack.

“No stone will be left unturned in ensuring that the perpetrators of the dastardly act are made to face the full wrath of the law. Police operatives led by CP (commissioner of Police) Aboki Danjuma on a confidence-building patrol in Ahiazu Mbaise responded immediately and gave the hoodlums a hot chase, which forced them to flee with various degrees of gunshot injuries, abandoning some of their operational motorcycles.”

According to him, the military swiftly supported the operatives, led by the brigade commander, 34 Artillery Brigade Obinze. He added that intense combing of the area is ongoing.

The Police command reiterated its commitment to collaborating with other sister security agencies to provide adequate security, urging citizens, particularly residents of Ahiazu Mbaise, to report any person seen with or treating gunshot injuries within their vicinity by calling the emergency lines, 08034773600 and 08098880197.

The ICIR reports that the South-East region has been a hotbed of insecurity stemming from agitation by the IPOB.

    IPOB has played a major role in the calls for Igbo secession from Nigeria, including engaging in actions considered by the Federal Government as treasonable, culminating in its proscription by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s government in 2017.

    Despite the proscription, IPOB has remained undeterred, with its major action being enforcing the Monday sit-at-home directive.

    A recent ranking by the Global Terrorism Index listed the group among the 20 deadliest terror groups in the world.

    The ICIR reported how insecurity in Nigeria’s South-East region, majorly due to  IPOB and its affiliates’ activities, led to the deaths of more than 1,700 people between January 2021 and June 2023.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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