The Nigerian army says its troops attached to 82 division killed several members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) during a gun battle in Nkalaha community, Ishielu LGA of Ebonyi state.
The ESN is the paramilitary organisation of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
During a briefing on Wednesday in Abuja, Onyema Nwachukwu, army spokesperson, said the operation was conducted on Monday by operatives from the army, the Nigerian Air force, police and Department of State Services (DSS).
Nwachukwu said during the joint operation, some members of the group fled with gunshots.
”During the raid operations, the troops came in contact with members of the dissident group, resulting in an exchange of fire. In the encounter, the gallant troops neutralized some of the irredentists, while others took to their heels abandoning the camp,” the army spokesperson said.
Nwachukwu said the troops recovered 102 rounds of 7.62mm special, two pump-action guns, five locally-made rifles, one roll of detonator 27, 33 electrical cables, 36 hand grenades and 12 bags of substances suspected to be marijuana.
The army spokesperson said the troops, in a separate operation on the same date, arrested one Martins Abogwu, a suspected ESN informant, in Agubeji community in Enugu.
According to Nwachukwu, the suspect, who claimed he was the chief security officer of the community, is assisting the troops in the preliminary investigations.
He added that the suspect has also led troops to the ESN camp where a shallow grave containing two decomposing bodies were uncovered.
“One of the corpses has been identified as a member of the local vigilante, who was kidnapped about a month ago,” he said.
“The Nigerian Army reassures law-abiding citizens of its unwavering resolve, in synergy with other services and security agencies to deny criminal elements the freedom of action and progressively rid the nation of identified threats to national security by executing its constitutional responsibilities in conformity with extant rules of engagement.
“The Nigerian Army also encourages members of the public to work harmoniously with the security agencies to collectively make the South East and the entire nation secured and peaceful.”