THE Nigerian Army has arrested one person and recovered arms in a camp belonging to the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its affiliate, the Eastern Security Network (IPOB/ESN).
This is according to a statement released on Tuesday, October 17, by the Director of Army Public Relations, Onyema Nwachukwu.
“Combined troops of 302 Artillery and 14 Field Engineer Regiments of the Nigerian Army, conducting operations against terrorists, have on Monday 16 October 2023 captured two locally made artillery projectile launchers from fighters of the Indigenous People of Biafra and its armed affiliate, Eastern Security Network (IPOB/ESN),” the Army statement read.
According to Onyema, the artillery weapons, armed with projectiles, were seized alongside other items as troops swooped on the dissident fighters, who fled the scene upon sighting troops’ advancement.
“In the operation, one combatant of the dissident group was arrested, and several items, including 48 rounds of 7.62 mm NATO ammunition, four mobile phones, one handheld communication radio, and a substance suspected to be cannabis, among others, were recovered by the troops.”
He said the 34 Artillery Brigade troops also conducted an offensive against oil thieves in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State.
“Troops recovered several items from the camp, including one crude oil cooking oven, three reservoirs, several connecting hoses and pipes, three mobile phones, one power generating set, three pumping machines, one CCTV camera mounted on a tree top, a substance suspected to be cannabis and some fetish objects,” he said.
He added that the troops in a similar operation conducted the same day uncovered and destroyed an illegal refining site with several drums and crude oil ovens laden with stolen crude oil.
Also destroyed by the troops was a dug-out pit containing about 50,000 litres of crude oil and 57 sacks of illegally refined automation gas oil. “Surprisingly, the sacks of illegally refined products were surreptitiously concealed in a community health centre at Egbema Shell and Egbema West, respectively, in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.”
He quoted the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, as reiterating the Nigerian Army’s resolve to maintain peace in the nation.
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.
Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in the society. You can shoot him a scoop via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.