Operatives of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) Enugu State Command, have killed four gunmen who were enforcing a controversial one-week sit-at-home order declared by a faction of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The police spokesperson in Enugu State, Daniel Ndukwe, disclosed this in a statement on Friday night, July 7, 2023.
Recall that Simon Ekpa, the leader of Autopilot, a faction of the IPOB, had in a statement on 14 June, 2023, announced that there would be one week sit-at-home in the South-east.
Ekpa, a self-acclaimed prime-minister of Biafra Republic Government in Exile, said the sit-at-home would hold from 3 to 5 July and continue from Friday 7 to 10 July.
He would later announce that Sunday 9 July had been exempted from the sit-at-home days, to allow residents of the region – which has a high population of Christians – to worship their God.
But Emma Powerful, the spokesperson of the IPOB faction led by Mr Kanu, later told PREMIUM TIMES that the sit-at-home order did not emanate from the group, but was declared by “criminals” seeking to frustrate the release of Mr Kanu.
Since July 3, 2023, there had been reports of shootings by gunmen enforcing the civil action across the five states in the region.
Ndukwe, a deputy superintendent of police, said police operatives serving in Awkunanaw Divisional Headquarters in the state had, on Friday morning, dislodged the gunmen when the operatives intercepted them attempting to snatch a minivan vehicle from a driver along Agbani Road, Enugu South Council Area.
The police spokesperson said the operatives foiled the attempt by engaging the hoodlums in a shootout, forcing them to abandon the vehicle and “narrowly escaped with varying degrees of fatal gunshot wounds, due to superior firepower of the operatives.”
He said the operatives subsequently recovered the vehicle, which had blood stains on its seats and other parts of the vehicle, adding that some arms and ammunition were also recovered from the attackers during the operation.
Ndukwe said the operatives would later discover and recover “bodies of four of the male hoodlums, in a forest behind G. Ede Filling Station/Seven-Up, at Awkunanaw, Enugu, where they escaped into.”
Awkunawan is a community in Enugu South Local Government Area of the state.
The police spokesperson said the discovery of the bodies followed an “intense manhunt” operation launched by a combined team of security agencies.
One AK-47 rifle with a magazine loaded with 19 live ammunition of 7.62 calibres and two bottles of petrol bomb were among the items recovered from the hoodlums during the operations, according to the police.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Ahmed Ammani, has reassured residents of Enugu State that the police and other security agencies in the state will not relent in their efforts to secure their lives and property, Ndukwe said.
Ammani asked the residents to go about their lawful businesses without fear as security measures had been put in place to guarantee their safety.
The police commissioner appealed for their continued support to the police and other security agencies in fighting crimes in the state.