The Nigerian Army has arrested at least nine pastors and 24 church elders during the search for the camps of the personnel of Eastern Security Network (ESN) in Orlu, Imo State.
According to The Nation, the church leaders were arrested following the raids that started in January in Orlu communities, especially Njaba, Orsu and Oru East council areas.
While peace seemed to have been restored in early February, the military in conjunction with the Intelligence Response Team of the police, stormed the areas last weekend.
Some of those arrested were Presiding Priest of Our Lord’s Sabbath in Umunam Atta Community, Njaba LGA, Rev. Chigozie Nwaka as well as a number of other clerics and church elders in Ubokoro Atta, Okporo, Okwudor.
It was gathered before the latest raid, soldiers invaded some churches, including House of Prayer International Covenant Church Okporo Orlu and arrested over 20 members of the church, including clerics.
The ongoing military operation in search of the camps of the personnel of the ESN has created panic in Orlu, Njaba and Orsu Local Government Areas.
Army spokesperson of the 34 artillery Brigade, Obinze, Owerri, Babatunde Zubairu, who confirmed the operation, said the locals were not being harassed.
He confirmed the deployment of helicopters and other military gadgets in the operations, adding the operation was an offshoot of military intelligence.