50 IPOB camps destroyed, shallow graves uncovered – Military

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The military said, on Sunday, that a recent clearance operation in Imo State led to the destruction of no fewer than 50 camps of the separatist Indigenous People of Biafra.

“The location was also littered with shallow graves indicative of idol worshipping and ritual killings. The ritual killings at the camp account for the several cases of missing persons in the region,” the Director,  Defence Media Operations,  Maj. Gen.  Edward Buba, said in a statement on Sunday.

According to him, troops killed 20 of the IPOB fighters in the operation conducted on March 7 in the Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State.

Buba said the operation was jointly carried out by personnel of the Armed Forces, Department of State Services, Nigeria Police Force, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.

Maj. Gen. Buba, in the statement also said in the operations conducted on March 7, security agents destroyed 50 IPOB camps in Imo.

According to him, the troops came in contact with many Improvised Devices planted by the fighters and ditches along the axis to the camps.

Among the destroyed camps, he said, were IPOB’s Supreme Headquarters,  Command and Control Centre, and  Military Council Headquarters.

The operation is the second conducted in the same local government since the beginning of the month and the third in the state.

On March 5, personnel of the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Navy killed five  IPOB fighters in a gun battle that occurred at Ejemekuru in the Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State.

Also,  on March 2,  troops killed an IPOB fighter after a fierce gun duel and recovered three Improvised Explosive Devices, one Toyota Highlander SUV, one Hilux vehicle, and eight rounds of 7.62mm (Special) ammunition, among others from their hideouts.

Buba, on Sunday,  said the IPOB fighters’ hideouts were well concealed with foliage that prevented them from being sighted during air surveillance.

He said,  “On  March 7, 2024, the combined troops of Operation Udo Ka with Nigeria Police, Department of State Security Service, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps conducted a raid/clearance operation to the IPOB/ESN violent extremists/terrorists in Mother Valley, Orsu LGA of Imo State.

The team cleared about 50 IPOB/ESN hideout tents in the valley including terrorists’ Supreme Headquarters and their Command and Control Centre as well as its Military Council Headquarters.

“Troops also cleared Buteuzor’s hideout/residence office, logistic base, temple, and shrine.

The valley had sufficient power supply for the camps. The terrorists hibernated there, reared animals, and also owned farms to be self-sustaining to live and fight.  During the operations, troops also encountered several command IEDs and ditches along the axis of the camp. “

Buba stated that the ditches dug by the fighters were covered and the IEDs detonated.

He said in the fight that ensued after making contact with the fighters,   20 of them were killed and several weapons were recovered from them.

Buba said, “All were detonated and ditches were covered with excavators before reaching the camp. The location is identified to be the supreme headquarters, command, and control centre as well as the Military Council Headquarters of IPOB/ESN.

“During the operations, troops made contact with terrorists. Following a firefight, troops neutralised 20 terrorists and recovered several quantities of assorted weapons such as G3 rifles, AK-47 rifles,  auto pump-action guns, double-barrel guns,  locally-made pistols, and RPG bombs.

“Troops also recovered assorted ammunition which included 226 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, 216 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 172 live cartridges, four AK-47 magazines, and three G3 magazines.

“Other items recovered include several quantities of IEDs, POS devices, baofeng radios, mobile phones,  handheld IEDs, CCTV cameras, inverters, and batteries. Additional items include Biafra flags, amongst others. “

Buba also said shallow graves were spread across the IPOB fighters’ camps,  accusing them of being involved in ritual killings.

“Troops destroyed all camps, hideouts, and shrines in the location. The location was also littered with shallow graves indicative of idol worshipping and ritual killings. The ritual killings at the camp account for the several cases of missing persons in the region.

“The recovered items are being processed and analysed for their intelligence value. Nevertheless, troops are sustaining the momentum and going in pursuit of the terrorist and their cohorts, dislodging them from their enclaves, “ the statement added.