By Ikeugonna Eleke
Anambra State Commissioner of Police, CP Aderemi Adeoye, has said that five out of seven local government areas in Anambra South Senatorial Zone have been freed from the grip of insurgents.
The Commissioner who spoke to journalists in Awka last weekend, said the Command was working to totally end terrorism in the state, but had been very tactical in the fight to avoid what he described as collateral damage.
Adeoye said the command had deployed tactics that were helping it to gain grounds against insurgents and that gradually, peace was returning to the state.
The Commissioner added that, ‘This insurgency problem is not against non-indigenes as people think. They kidnap their own people and ask for ransom, and if you don’t pay, they kill you there.
’95percent of their victims are their own relatives. The other five percent are travellers, who, due to lack of the knowledge of the area, run into them. Our advice is to use the expressway always.
‘We are working to gradually reclaim all these areas that the insurgents have turned into their hideouts because of natural forests, harsh topography, difficult terrains and others. They take refuge in those places and launch attacks from there, but now, it is very difficult for them to launch such attacks and come out alive.’
He continued, ‘What almost engulfed the whole state is insurgency, and you know this is like guerilla warfare. When you fight guerilla warfare, you must be deliberate and methodical because it is not a conventional war.
‘You make progress slowly. You gain grounds, you secure it. You reclaim occupied territory and you secure it and then go further.
‘Before now, all the seven local government areas that are in the Anambra South Zone were under the control of the insurgents. But now other parts of the state are safe except Nnewi South and few areas in Ihiala.
‘So out of seven local government areas, we have reclaimed five, and we are working on liberating the remaining two. Incidentally, those two have links with Imo. It got so bad that even their traditional rulers fled the communities.
‘Those areas you mentioned as no-go-areas, we have Forward Operating Bases (FOB) there. We have in Osumoghu, Ukpor, Uli, and those are aimed at ensuring we stem encroachment from Imo. These measures have been effective and that is why the rest of the state has been safe because the routes through which they come have been stopped. Our Police Special Forces are there, army is there, police are there, anti-terrorist unit is also there,’ Adeoye said.
‘Attacks have been checked to a reasonable extent. They plant landmines around those camps and also use rocket propelled grenade launchers. These are war materials and we are not at war. The Federal Government has exercised a lot of restraint in dealing with the problem, and I will advise the insurgents not to push their luck so far because patience has a limit.
‘You will agree with me that up till now we have not used air strikes, Why? Because we are concerned about the safety of the people there. We don’t want collateral damage. But if their existence there will make life meaningless to innocent people, then the Federal Government would have been pushed to the wall to go all out and take them out in order to secure the people who have become canon-folder in their hands,’ the Anambra police boss said.