The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has debunked ownership of a camp in Lilu, Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, where soldiers revelled in Tuesday that it killed suspected operatives of the group.
The Nigerian Army Public Relations Officer, Brigadier General Nwachukwu had in a statement on Tuesday said it dislodged a notorious stronghold of IPOB and its armed affiliate, Eastern Security Network (ESN) in the area, in a joint operation.
He said Lilu, a border town between Imo and Anambra states, was hitherto used as an operational base of the dissidents.
The statement partly read, “After dislodging the dissidents from their fortress, the dogged troops recovered 10 pump-action shotguns, two locally-fabricated guns, one revolver pistol, rounds of 7.62 mm special, live cartridges, machetes and IPOB flags. Other items recovered are mobile phones, laptops, among other weapons.
“The operation was jointly conducted by troops of the 82 Division, Nigerian Navy, 211 Quick Response Group of the Nigerian Air Force, Department of State Services and the Nigeria Police. It was a well-coordinated dawn attack on the fortress, where plans were being perfected to violently enforce the illegitimate sit-at-home declaration by the irredentist group.”
But denying the claims by the Army, the Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful in a press statement said the group had no camp in the area.
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Powerful accused the Army of criminal misrepresentation of facts against IPOB and ESN claiming that arrested criminals were ESN members.
The statement reads in part, “We wish to reiterate, that IPOB and ESN operatives have no camp in Lilu in Ihiala LGA of Anambra State.
“We are not militants and criminals and don’t need any camp in Ihiala LGA. We are identifiable and we are all over Biafra land and IPOB branches in the Diaspora.
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“Nigeria security agencies are using the hatred they have on the people of Biafra particularly IPOB and ESN members to unleash cruelty on the people living in these communities where they suspect that criminals are taking refuge.
“If criminals take refuge in any community in Biafra land, that doesn’t make them IPOB members or ESN operatives. We have also not said there are no more criminal gangs in Biafra land just like every other country even in the advanced Western nations. But we won’t accept the tagging of every Criminal element found in Biafra as an IPOB member or ESN operative.
“Recall that some of these criminals were already mentioned by IPOB leadership sometime during a broadcast. IPOB leadership said these criminals were unleashing mayhem on innocent citizens in some communities. Some of these hoodlums were a creation of wicked politicians in their desperation to discredit IPOB and ESN.”