At least three people have been reportedly killed as members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Eastern Security Network (ESN) engaged operatives of the Nigeria Police Force in an exchange of gunfire in Imo State.
Reports reaching Naija News at the moment confirmed that an officer of the force paid the supreme price during the gun duel.
Some other police personnel are said to have sustained injuries in the gun battle which happened in Agwa in the Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State.
According to reports, the bullets exchange started after ESN members in their numbers emerged from the surrounding bushes, shooting sporadically at the policemen who were conducting stop and search duty.
The police officers also, according to reports killed two members of the proscribed group.
Confirming the incident in a statement, the Police Public Relationship Officer (PPRO), Michael Abattam, said one of the police officers paid the supreme price while others were treated and discharged from the hospital for minor injuries they sustained.
He also disclosed that the corpses of the hoodlums were later deposited in Federal Medical Center Mortuary while the investigation is ongoing.
According to the release, “ESN members in their numbers emerged from the surrounding bushes, shooting sporadically at the policemen while conducting stop and search duty.
“The officers who swiftly took cover and responded, engaged them in a fierce gun duel, while they called for backup from the Divisional Police Headquarters, Agwa.
“On arrival, they positioned themselves strategically and professionally engaged the hoodlums in a firefight.
“For the operatives’ superior firepower and number, they were able to neutralize two of the hoodlums while others fled in disarray with bullet wounds into the bush.
“The police operatives tactically chased the hoodlums, in the process, combing the bush for the possible recovery of their arms and arrest of the fleeing suspects. However, two locally made double barrel guns with seven live cartridges and ten expended cartridges were recovered at the scene.”
Reacting to the development, the State Commissioner of Police, CP Mohammed Ahmed Barde, commiserated with the family of the officer who lost his life gallantly.
The CP admonished his officers and men not to relent in their efforts until all criminal elements are apprehended and made to face the full wrath of the law.
He then appealed to Imolites for their continuous support and collaboration in giving the police and other security agencies credible and timely information and to report any person seen treating bullet wounds or hiding within the community, to the nearest police station for prompt action.
Also, he urged them to always make use of the command’s emergency numbers 08034773600 or 08098880197 in times of distress.