Five more innocent residents of Imo state who were wrongly arrested and labelled by the police have been released from custody.
The police and the military, according to a Sahara Reporters story published on Monday, raided innocent residents from certain communities in the South-East. The report stated specific names of some of the victims in custody.
After that story, the police on Thursday released an oil worker, Ibe Casmir Ibegbulem, one of those wrongly arrested and falsely labelled as unknown gunmen.
Sources monitoring the cases said that five others were also on Thursday night released after the report.
“They were released on Thursday night from the Imo State Police Headquarters,” a source said.
“The five newly freed citizens are Smith Amadikwa, Casmir Ugbor, Ojukwu Ukonu, Emeka Mbonu and Engineer Ikechukwu Okomah.
“They were wrongly arrested between May 12 and 19 and labelled as ‘ESN (Eastern Security Network) hoodlums that attacked Imo State Correctional/Prisons Headquarters and others.”
The Nigerian Army and the police intelligence response team had stormed houses in the South-East states and arrested suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and ESN officials in a house-to-house raid.
“There was a shoot-out on Douglas Road, Owerri, yesterday between the army, the police and unknown gunmen who were said to be aggrieved over the indiscriminate arrests. The army personnel are all over Onicha-Igboeze LGA and are going from house to house, picking up suspected IPOB members and their families,” a source had stated in a May 19 report.
“Some of our brothers were abducted here in Igwuocha and in Borokiri (Rivers State) by the police who tagged them as unknown gunmen. Our people are seriously under attack,” another source had confirmed.
Sahara Reporters had reported how the military drafted reinforcement troops from some of its formations fighting insurgency in Borno state to join the troops in the South-East region over the military’s clash with IPOB and ESN operatives.
Military sources had confirmed to Sahara Reporters that the reinforcements were drawn from some battalions including the 231 Tank Battalion in Biu, Borno state, which is under the 3 Armoured Division, Jos, Plateau State.
“Yes, some troops are moving from the North-East to the South-East as reinforcements. They started moving from Wednesday. Among them are those from the 231 Tank Battalion; they are believed to be more trained in quelling uprisings,” a top source had confirmed.