Two killed as Nigerian troops raid suspected IPOB camps

The Nigerian army says its troops have killed two suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and their armed militant wing, Eastern Security Network (ESN), in Abia State, Nigeria’s South-east.
The army, in a statement posted on their Facebook page on Thursday, said the suspects were killed when the troops raided camps belonging to IPOB and ESN earlier the same day.
The army said in a previous statement the same day that the troops, in conjunction with a Joint Task Force Tactical Patrol Squad, “infiltrated and dismantled” a suspected IPOB camp in the community, including training facilities in the camp.

It said the operation was conducted in Ihechiowa, a community in Arochukwu Local Government Area of the state.

“In addition to the destruction of the training camp, the troops also targeted buildings used as hideouts for key ESN commanders,” it said.

The statement said the operation was in response to the alleged “heightening terrorists’ activities” of IPOB against residents of the community and government agencies in the state.
‘How the suspected IPOB members were killed’
In the later statement, the army said the troops killed the two suspects following an intensified raid and destruction of IPOB camps in Umudi Forest and Umuaku Areas of Umunneochi, another council area in the state, on Thursday.

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It said the operation was conducted in collaboration with other security agencies but did not mention the agencies.
“The operations commenced with an offensive on the first terrorists’ camp, where troops encountered resistance and in the firefight, troops neutralised two terrorists, while others took to their heels, having been overwhelmed by superior firepower,” it said.
The statement said the troops subsequently destroyed a shrine seen in one of the camps.

“This operation marks a significant step in the ongoing effort to dismantle the operational capabilities of IPOB/ESN in the region.
“The security forces remain committed to restoring peace and order in Abia State and ensuring the safety of residents,” the statement added.
Several arms and ammunition were among the items recovered from the suspects, according to the army.
IPOB, a group seeking to carve out a sovereign state of Biafra from the South-east and some parts of the South-south of Nigeria, has been linked to some deadly attacks in two regions.
But the separatist group has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attacks.
The Nigerian security agencies, mainly the military, have been raiding camps belonging to the group and other separatist groups, mainly in the South-east.
Both personnel of the security agencies and members of the separatist groups have been killed during such deadly operations in the region.

The operations appear to have increased in the region recently after five soldiers were killed by gunmen suspected to be IPOB members in Abia State.
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