Security Operatives, IPOB clash over attacks on INEC offices

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Gunmen yesterday bombed the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Oru West Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo State.
The Police, which confirmed the incident, said the facility was attacked with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

It blamed the attack on members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed unit, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).

The police made its claim just hours after IPOB warned law enforcement agencies to desist from holding it responsible for any such attack.

It said its members were “intelligent freedom fighters”, not criminals.

The incident – the second attack on an INEC office in the state in three days – set part of the INEC office ablaze.

The police, in a statement by its spokesman CSP Michael Abattam, said the attackers were repelled by its men and fled after suffering injuries.

Abattam said the gunmen stormed the INEC office at about 4am shooting sporadically.

According to him, they threw explosives into the compound from outside which landed on the INEC office conference room and damaged some furniture and windows.

He said: “On 04/12/2022 at about 0400 hours, gunmen suspected to be members of the proscribed IPOB and its armed affiliate, ESN came in their numbers to the office of the INEC office in Oru West Local Government Area of Imo State.

“They threw IEDs into the office from outside the fence, shooting sporadically but were repelled by the gallantry displayed by the police operatives on duty.

“The police operatives, who engaged the hoodlums professionally, inflicted various degrees of injuries on them.

“Having suffered a huge defeat, the hoodlums retreated, escaping in their vehicle and were given a hot chase by the operatives.

“However, the explosives fell on the conference room of the INEC office and caused minor damage to some of the furniture and windows. No life was lost.”

Efforts to reach the IPOB spokesman Emma Powerful were not successful as he was yet to react to messages sent to him.

Last Friday, gunmen set ablaze the INEC office in Orlu LGA of Imo State.

Confirming the incident via a statement, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said the building, which was undergoing renovation following an earlier attack, was vandalised and partially set ablaze by the gunmen.

Okoye, who noted that the commission’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Imo State, Prof. Sylvia Uchenna Agu, reported the incident on Thursday, said three out of seven construction workers were abducted but were later released.

The INEC official stated that the damage would have been more extensive but for the quick response of the police operatives deployed to the scene.

Describing the incident as “one attack too many”, Okoye expressed concern over the spate of attacks on INEC’s facilities and the negative consequences on the electoral umpire’s preparations for the 2023 general election.

Earlier yesterday, IPOB asked National Security Adviser, Major General Mohammed Babagana Mungono (rtd) to provide evidence that security agents dislodged camps belonging to ESN and arrested some of its commanders.

It challenged Mungono to mention the names of the ESN camps and commanders.

IPOB, in a statement by Powerful, said: “We challenge them to mention the camps they dislodged and produce video evidence of the commanders they claimed to have arrested.”

He urged the NSA to focus on destroying Boko Haram and other terrorists “rampaging and destroying lives and property” elsewhere.


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