From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
A Joint Task Force (JTF) of the Nigeria military and police yesterday averted danger at the palace of the Chairman, Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Emmanuel Okeke, when it killed six suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who attempted to attack the premises.
Spokesperson of the State police, Michael Abattam, in a statement, yesterday, said the hoodlums, who were sighted in three Hilux vans, shot sporadically while advancing at the palace of the traditional ruler, in Orlu, at about 8am.
But before the suspects could cause any havoc, according to Abattam, the police tactical team and the military, who got a hint of their operation, engaged them in a gun duel and, in the process, six of them were killed, while others escaped with serious bullet wounds. One of the vehicles of the team was bombed by the hoodlums who threw a petrol chemical bomb at it, Abattam said.
He said: “On their way, the hoodlums, on sighting the combined team, engaged them in a gun duel, throwing petrol bombs. The gallant team responded, positioning themselves professionally. In the exchange of gun fire that ensued, the hoodlums were overwhelmed due to the superior fire-power of the combined team and, in the process, six of the hoodlums were neutralised, while others escaped with various degrees of gunshot injuries.
“The combined team did not relent in their effort, they chased the hoodlums, recovering one pump action gun, three blood stained cutlasses and three Hilux vehicles suspected to have been snatched from innocent citizens,” Abattam said.
He added that efforts were on top gear to arrest other fleeing hoodlums, while security in Orlu and other areas have been beefed up to forestall any further attack.
However, normalcy has been restored in the area while the corpses of the neutralised bandits have been deposited in the mortuary, the police spokesperson said.