Hope Uzodinma, governor of Imo State, has justified ongoing military operations in Orlu, saying he requested for it.
Mr Uzodinma made the revelation on Friday through Imo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Cyprain Akaolisa, at a press briefing in Owerri, the state capital.
There have been renewed military operations in Orlu senatorial district, with force aircrafts hovering around the area apparently on a surveillance mission. Yesterday, locals who confided on TODAY POLITICS said some aircrafts of the military were gunned down in forests, a claim yet-to-be independently verified.
The governor while speaking said the military operations will continue until men of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), an arm of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), are flushed out of the state.
He also alleged that ESN personnel killed Orlu residents last month, a claim social media video clips contradicted by showing troops firing of live rounds recklessly which inturn killed many before they (soldiers) were resisted by the security outfit of the group demanding return of defunct Biafra Republic.
“The attacks on police stations and killing of policemen during #Endsars were carried out by IPOB and not protesting youths for the sole purpose of hijacking and stealing weapons,” the governor said.
“They are now using those arms to destroy Orlu.
“They killed 10 policemen, a prominent Orlu soon, Ignatius Obiezu and one Emmanuel Okeke (Soludo) collected their Hilux vehicles
“The IPOB also shot and killed four Moslems doing their business in Orlu.
“IPOB said they were looking for herdsmen, but these victims they killed before the crisis, were they herdsmen?
“We heard Nnamdi Kanu celebrating the activities of his men in Orlu that they are doing well by killing innocent citizens. There’s no Fulani herdsmen in Orlu.
“So, we asked ourselves, what is the colouration that IPOB is trying to give this onslaught in Orlu?
“That’s why our government decided to invite military to flush out IPOB and their so called ESN.
“We discovered that there was a camp which IPOB established at Umutanze, Orlu and we sent police to dislodge them. But, it happened that they attacked the policemen and killed two of them. It was after they killed those policemen that government had to bring in the military.
“It was not easy for the military to push them out of that place. But the military succeeded. That was why they came on a reprisal attack and killed the innocent ones.
“They also relocated to Udah in Orsu LGA, a camp at a boundary between Imo and Anambra States. The place is a very depressed groove that no one can easily enter.
“For the past two weeks, surveillance was monitoring that place and there were more than 200 people being trained in that camp. The military had to deploy their arsenal to diminish the IPOB people there,” he said.
Insisting that the military operations will continue despite contrary demands, Uzodinma said he won’t fold his hands and watch the secessionist group continue killing residents.
“We can’t do that. We can’t fold our arms for these boys to continue to kill people everyday,” the governor vowed.