Biafra separatists were behind the multiple attacks that culminated in a prison break in Owerri, the police have said.
Those who razed the Imo Police Command Headquarters and freed inmates at the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCS) on Monday were members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its militia, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the authorities said.
After the attack, IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu tweeted that no Nigerian should be in prison if the government continued to overlook the crimes committed by herdsmen, bandits and Boko Haram terrorists.
Following the attack, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu has deployed additional units of Police Mobile Force (PMF) and other police tactical squads to Imo to strengthen security and prevent further attacks on security formations or any other critical national infrastructure in the state.
This is according to a statement police spokesperson Frank Mba issued on Monday.
“Preliminary investigations have revealed that the attackers, who came in their numbers with sophisticated weapons such as General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs), Sub-Machine Guns (SMGs), AK49 rifles, Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs), Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), are members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)/Eastern Security Network (ESN),” the police said.
“The attempt by the attackers to gain access to the police armoury at the headquarters was totally and appropriately resisted by Police operatives on duty who repelled the attackers and prevented them from breaking-in and looting the armory”.
The armoury, Mba said, is intact, adding the police suffered no human casualty, apart from a police constable who sustained a minor bullet wound on his shoulder.
He said one of the operational vehicles of the attackers has been recovered by the police and is being subjected to forensic scrutiny and investigations.
IGP Adamu described the deliberate and criminal attack on security operatives as an attack on the soul of the country enjoined leaders in Imo, the South-East and other parts of the country to speak out against the unfolding violence and criminality.
The IGP called on citizens to avail the police and other security agencies with useful information that can assist in identifying and arresting the criminals.