By Ikeugonna Eleke
Gunmen suspected to be operatives of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the militant wing of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), on Tuesday afternoon engaged joint security operatives in a gun battle in Ihiala Local Government Area.
The attack came in the heat of the supplementary governorship election holding in Ihiala that day.
It was gathered that the gunmen were trying to enter Ihiala through Imo State, as Mbosi and Orsumoghu, where the attack happened, are border towns with communities in Imo State.
Fides reporter who was covering the supplementary governorship election in Ihiala with some of his colleagues, ran into a barricade set up by joint security operatives at Mbosi/Orsumoghu Junction.
The joint security operatives, comprising mobile police men, army, navy and other security agencies, stopped the journalists who were in a hired shuttle bus, and after a brief search, asked the journalists to return. The security personnel based their order on the gun battle raging ahead of them.
Two unidentified police men and a soldier who spoke to our reporter and his colleagues, ‘You have to go back for your own good. For three hours now, we have been exchanging fire with your IPOB brothers.
‘Our men are in the bush now and it will be risky for you to take this route,’ the security operatives advised.
When Fides got across to the Anambra State commissioner of police, CP Echeng Eworo, for his reaction, he refused to confirm the development, asking the reporter to call back later.
Fides also noticed a team of security men loaded in 10 Hilux vans, heading to Mbosi/Orsumoghu Junction as reinforcement as at the time of filing this report.