The Imo State Government says it invited the military in Orlu because of intelligence reports that IPOB planned to attack Orlu people and the government under the pretext of looking for Fulani herdsmen.
The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Cyprian Akaolisa, said this on Friday to journalists, while he defended the ongoing joint military and police operation in Orlu Local Government Area.
He said the aim of the operation is to end the criminal activities being perpetrated by suspected members of the Eastern Security Network, ESN and clear camps allegedly built by members of the security outfit set up by IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu, which he said is aimed at protecting “Biafra land” against the menace of herdsmen.
But Mr. Akaolisa alleged that the ESN is doing the opposite, although he did not show evidence to support his claim.
He said, “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.
“They are now using those arms to destroy Orlu. They killed 10 policemen, a prominent Orlu soon, Ignatius Obiezu, and one Emmanuel Okeke and 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 are no Fulani herdsmen in Orlu.”
Meanwhile, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had earlier accused the Federal Government of declaring war on the people of South-East by its military operation in Orlu, Imo State.
There had been social media reports of a military bombardment in Orlu on Thursday which was targeted at the camps of the IPOB-established Eastern Security Network, ESN.
Mazi Chika Edoziem, the Head of Directorate of State of the IPOB, in a statement in reaction to the airstrikes, said IPOB worldwide must now gird their loins and be prepared for the long drawn out battle ahead.
“The Nigerian government through its military has finally declared open confrontation with the Biafran people in their bid to harass, intimidate and cow us into submission to relinquish our ancestral lands to foreign Fulani terrorists,” he said.
According to him, IPOB must defend every inch of Biafran territory and will defend their inalienable right to live in the land of their forefathers as free people.
“The Nigerian army has thrown the gauntlet and we the Indigenous People of Biafra shall accept their challenge because there will neither be retreat nor surrender on this our journey to liberty and freedom.
“Now that the Nigerian government has activated its final solution to the Biåfran question with Helicopter gunships in Orlu, they have crossed the line of no return and for us the Indigenous People of Biafra there is only one option that is open for us.”
Mazi Edoziem urged members of the group to be very conscious of the current situation of things and wait for directives from their leader, Nnamdi Kanu.