Dozens of civilians have lost their lives in an ongoing military raid on the villages of Orlu, Imo State – in eastern Nigeria.
The incident began after Nigerian army clashed with the local vigilante group, Eastern Security Network, last week, a resident – Okwuonu Nnanna told Gazette Africa.
Government forces, early last month December 2021, began searching for operatives of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), a local security group established by Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra.
Orlu is reportedly on fire at the moment!!
Heard military men dressed in their uniforms are going from street to street killing people in their homes & shops, setting places ablaze.
Someone should please confirm this
— timi 🦅 (@timiPR) January 25, 2021
“They discovered Eastern Security Network training camp at Orlu few weeks ago. They came to fight the ESN, those boy chased them out… On 9th Jan Army came and threw tear gas at Banana Junction Orlu and were chased out. So yesterday we saw almost 10 hilux of Nigerian Army and since today na shoot-at-sight ,” says a report.
Nigeria’s regions began establishing local vigilante groups in 2020 to combat worsening insecurity in the country, but the Nigerian military said the local vigilante group established by Kanu was illegal because he is a separatist leader.
“Many people have died since the soldiers began the raid last week, the survivors have fled their homes to safety,” said Judith Ekeke, a student at Imo State University, whose village was raided by soldiers.
A former Nigerian Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, who confirmed the report said “the clash between soldiers and members ESN in Orlu, Imo state today has resulted in some deaths & this is unfortunate”.
The clash between soldiers and members ESN in Orlu, Imo state today has resulted in some deaths & this is unfortunate. I call for restraint on both sides. The soldiers ought to be deployed against killer herdsmen and not ESN. When will Buhari learn. Chidera Agu please stay safe.
— Femi Fani-Kayode (@realFFK) January 25, 2021
We're still talking about Lekki massacre and same Nigerian military are going from street to street in Orlu killing unarmed civilians & burning down houses.
Few weeks ago we were calling President Museveni of Uganda a dictator meanwhile we have a tyrant leading us.
— K A Y 🇳🇬🇨🇦 (@Kaylechi_) January 25, 2021
Leader of the separatist group, Nnamdi Kanu also confirmed the report with a video that he posted on Twitter.
@USinNigeria @UKinNigeria @EUinNigeria @IsraelinNigeria @StateDept @UN This is @HQNigerianArmy that you have been funding for years that couldn't defeat Fulani Herdsmen, #BokoHaram ISWAP, Fulani Bandits etc. but has power to kill civilians in ORLU today. pic.twitter.com/VVPW0Ch3Bb
— Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (@MaziNnamdiKanu) January 25, 2021
Orlu is on fire.
Where is isi opioro mango man that sneaked into Douglas House through septic tank?
What is he doing? What are men of the Nigerian Military doing in a peaceful town like Orlu? pic.twitter.com/RlIvrj98Ql
— Unu Amaro Kam Siri Kwado (@AfamDeluxo) January 25, 2021
The State governor have declared war on my people.
This is orlu, Imo State.
This lady was killed by a stray bullet, pic.twitter.com/mPUn8lu6xi
— DEMAGOGUE PhD.💘senior advocat🎓 (@von_Bismack) January 25, 2021
Shooting between separatists, Cameroonian forces kills civilians
A civilian was killed in a shootout between separatist fighters and government forces in Mbalangi, southwest Cameroon.
Four other civilians were injured in the incident on Tuesday.
Government forces were heading to clear a roadblock when the incident occurred, said Cameroon News Agency, which added that an explosive device had been detonated in Ediki.
A faction of separatists in Cameroon had announced a two-week lockdown which it said will begin on September 15 and end on October 2, 2021.
In the Tatum Bui division, in the north-western region of the country, a soldier was killed on Monday by separatist fighters who seized his weapons and left his body in a bush.
The shootout between government forces and armed separatists seeking an independent state known as Ambazonia, has left scores of civilians dead and injured since the Cameroonian government headed by President Paul Biya failed in establishing a dialogue with aggrieved citizens.
Nigeria recaptures 108 inmates after prison outbreak
At least 108 out of 240 inmates who escaped from a prison in central Nigeria have been recaptured, a prison official said Tuesday.
Heavily armed gunmen stormed the Security Custodial Centre in Kabba, in Kogi State, late on Sunday, freeing scores of inmates.
It was unclear who the gunmen were but criminal gangs have terrorised central and northwest Nigeria for years.
“We have a total of 108 inmates rearrested,” Nigeria’s correctional service spokesman Francis Enobore told AFP by phone.
“But as the day progresses, the figure will definitely increase,” he added, saying “several processes have been activated to ensure all inmates are rearrested.”
At about 2245 GMT on Sunday, the spokesman had said earlier in a statement, numerous attackers “engaged the armed guards in a fierce gun battle.”
The gunmen invaded the prison, which had 294 prisoners in custody at the time, including 224 pre-trial detainees.
A soldier and a police officer lost their lives in the attack, Enobore later added.
Large prison outbreaks are not uncommon in Nigeria.
On April 5, gunmen raided Owerri police headquarters, in Nigeria’s southern Imo state, freeing more than 1,800 inmates.
In addition to fighting criminal gangs who also kidnap people for ransom and rustle cattle, Nigeria’s security forces are facing a violent jihadist insurgency in the northeast and separatist agitation in the southeast.
Biafran separatists to shut Nigeria’s eastern region on September 14
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a Biafran pro-independence group, has announced that the southeastern region of Nigeria will be closed on September 14, 2021, to mark what they call “saboteurs day”.
The separatist group said the “saboteurs day” is a day to remember— September 14, 2017, when government forces raided the home of its leader Nnamdi Kanu in Umuahia, where they killed at least 28 civilians in an attempted assassinate the separatist leader.
It is also a day to remember all those who betrayed their comrades and sabotaged the struggle to restore the sovereign state of Biafra, said IPOB.
No official statement is made on the issue by the Federal Government of Nigeria which has almost lost control of the eastern region of the country.
Meanwhile, Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the IPOB is still detained by the Nigerian authorities who had illegally repatriated him in July 2021 to Nigeria after his arrest in Kenya.
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