Imo governor Hope Uzodimma said he ordered state security agents to descend on “militants” in Orlu.
Uzodimma said this in a statement on Monday evening. His statement came after reported clashes between soldiers and the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the militia arm of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB). The police are also involved.
The governor has also imposed a curfew on troubled areas. He said anyone who violates it will be treated like a suspected criminal.
Uzodimma acknowledged that there have been civilian casualties, adding that he condoled with the bereaved. It is unclear if the civilians were killed by soldiers, police or ESN bullets.
“This afternoon, I received a very disturbing report on the activities of a group of Militants who unleashed a shooting spree in the Orlu area of the state, killing and maiming innocent citizen in the process,” Uzodimma said.
“I am totally appauled by this sad report which appears to paint a picture of near breakdown of law and order in the Orlu area.
“The government condemns in its entirety this act of extreme hooliganism and brigandage.
“This is completely unacceptable to this administration. Those behind this callous barbarism will surely regret their actions.
Consequently, I have directed the security agencies to fish out without fail, all those behind the carnage and immediately bring them to book.
“Let no one be in any doubt that the perpetrators of this dastardly act will ever escape justice. I assure them that they will pay for for their cruelty against a peace loving, innocent people
“As an interim measure to immediately restore the peace in Orlu zone, a dusk-to-dawn curfew (6pm to 6am) is hereby imposed on the following local government areas of Orlu zone; Orlu, Orsu, Oru East, Oru West, Ideato North, Ideao South, Njaba, Isu, Nwangele and Nkwerre.
“All law-abiding citizens are advised to comply strictly with the curfew as announced. Anyone caught violating the curfew will be treated as a suspect.
“The government wants to assure all Imo people that the situation in Orlu area is under control.
“Security operatives have been deployed on a 24-hour patrol of the zone.
“Equally, every security measure necessary has been put in place to ensure that law-abiding citizens can go about their businesses in the affected areas without any fear of molestation.
“The government sincerely condones with the families of the bereaved and all the victims of the unfortunate incident.
“I assure them that those who committed the heinous crime against them and their loved ones will never go unfurnished,” he said.