First time since secessionist gun battle began in the southeastern states of Nigeria in 2021, a group who identified themselves as Biafra Revolution Army, BRA has claimed responsibility for the Tuesday attack in Imo state which led to the killing of eight security operatives including soldiers, policemen and civil defence corps.
Nigerian Army has always claimed that the attacks in the Southeast States are committed by the proscribed members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB and its armed affiliate, Eastern Security Network, ESN. But IPOB always denied and refuted the claims of the Nigerian Army. This, media always attribute the attacks to unknown gunmen since no group came out to claim responsibility.
The Biafra Revolution Army in a video released on Wednesday, displayed military weapons recovered from the security operatives killed on Tuesday in Umualumaku village in Imo state. According to the BRA fighters, Nigeria soldiers should stop harassing residents in the village, adding that, the villagers were not even aware that they were in the village and as such they have no base in the village. The BRA fighters added that their forward and operating base is located along Enugu-Umuahia-Port-Harcourt road and thus asked the Armed Forces of Nigeria, AFN to come to the right location and stop disturbing the residents at Umualumaku village.
According to Simon Ekpa, one of the factional leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, the Biafra Revolution Army that ambushed and killed the eight Nigeria security operatives who were on Joint Patrol at Umualumaku village were a combined team of Biafra Liberation Army and Biafra Resistance Fighters.
“The Biafra Liberation Army has released video of weapons recovered from the terrorists in uniform who came to Mbano to kill the villagers and burn their properties as usual but they met with the more superior firepower of the Biafra Liberation Army and Biafra resistance fighters”, Simon Ekpa tweeted on Wednesday.
It would be recalled that gunmen killed some security operatives and burnt several vehicles in Oriagu, Ehime-Mbano Local Government Area of Imo state on Tuesday being the first day of the two weeks: 6 to 12 pm sit-at-home declared by Simon Ekpa led faction of IPOB in the southeast states considered as Biafra land.
It was gathered that the security operatives were said to have been on patrol along Aba-branch, Oriagu in Ehime-Mbano road when the gunmen ambushed them and killed the eight joint task force officers.
The joint security taskforce team who were in two security trucks were reportedly said none of them survived as they were burnt inside their operational vehicles.
The eight security agents comprising soldiers, policemen and Nigeria Security And Civil Defence Corps were killed and burnt by the attackers. The incident occurred on Tuesday morning in Umualumaku community and thus throw the area into panic.
Earlier, the Nigerian Army said it carried out offensive attacks along the Enugu-Umuahia-Port-Harcourt road, specifically at Ohafia area in Abia State where three of the secessionist group members were killed on Monday, a day before the group retaliated and killed eight security operatives.
Nigerian Army in a news release issued and made available by the Army Spokesperson, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, reads in quote thus: “Joint troops of 82 Division Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Police have neutralized 3 combatants of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed affiliate, Eastern Security Network (ESN) in a fierce encounter that ensued during a clearance operation in the early hours of Monday 18 September 2023 at Igboro Forest, between Arochukwu and Ohafia Local Government Areas of Abia state.
“On winning the fire fight, the troops wasted no time destroying several hideous camps used by members of the groups to perpetrate heinous crimes. The camps were uncovered, after several weeks of credible surveillance revealed that IPOB/ESN were using the forest as a combat training ground for their members and as a base for planning and launching attacks on targeted civilians, security operatives and government facilities in the state.
“On further exploiting the camp, the gallant troops recovered several weapons and ammunition, amongst others. The Items recovered include One improvised 16 Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) Gun mounted on a vehicle, One improvised 12 MBRL Gun, One improvised 6 MBRL Gun, One AK 47 Rifle, One Dane Gun, 6 locally made Rocket Launchers, four Improvised Explosive Devices, five Fragmental Jackets, One Baofeng Radio, Military Camouflage Uniforms and several assorted charms.
“In a similar development that also took place in the early hours of today, 18 September 2023, same troops of 82 Division NA in synergy with the Nigerian Police Force, acting on credible intelligence busted IPOB/ESN hideout at Ezioha Mgbowo in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu state. The armed fighters were perfecting plans to enforce the illegal sit-at-home order in the area, when the vigilant troops swooped on them.
“The armed fighters, who opened fire on sighting troops approaching their camp were however defeated in the fire fight that followed, as the troops responded with overwhelming fire power, neutralizing three of the fighters, while others fled in disarray. The troops recovered three Pump Action Guns and 10 Machetes from the fleeing fighters. Members of the public are implored to continue to support the Nigerian Army and other security agencies with credible information to enhance the fight against terrorism insurgency and other criminal activities.