By Anayo Okoli, Chidi Nkwopara & Chinonso Alozie
Hundreds of military operatives yesterday, launched heavy attacks on the camps of the Eastern Security Network, ESN, in some parts of Forest Umunna in Orlu and Orsu Local Government Areas of Imo State.
Vanguard’s investigation revealed that the military launched the attacks on hearing that the members of the Eastern Security Network, ESN, had set up a base in the forest from where they would execute their operations.
An insider who would not want his name mentioned explained how the military invasion started: “The military first visited the camp of the ESN in Umunna in Orlu local government area and before they got there, our men got the information and relocated. They also visited another but did not see anybody. So, the military destroyed the camps of the ESN. Nobody was killed in this operation. But our people are living in fear.”
Residents of the affected areas told Vanguard that the military started with a show of force.
Another villager who introduced himself as Chief Thomas Ndudi, gave his own side of the story. According to him: “On Tuesday, we saw over 30 trucks of the military moving in their convoy in and out of Orlu in search of the members of the Eastern Security Network. They kept searching for them through out Wednesday and yesterday, they discovered their camps and started destroying them.
“The first day, they even used helicopter to hover around the forest locating their camps. The truth is that villages close to the forest are living in fear as the sound of guns and airstrikes made them run inside their houses and some of them abandoned their homes out of fear of being hit by stray bullets.”
Reacting to the development, the Chidi Ibeh- led Ohanaeze Ndigbo condemned the invasion of Orsu forests by soldiers and other security operatives in search of the members of the Eastern Security Network, ESN, and called on the chief of Army Staff to immediately withdraw the troops.
According to the publicity Secretary of the group, Comrade Temple Chika, why should the army and other security operatives single out the ESN to clamp down when they are not molesting anybody but protecting Igboland against the activities of destructive Fulani herdsmen.
“We see ESN as part of community policing, helping to maintain security in the hinterland of Igboland.
“Although we are not supporting IPOB, we support any security outfit that will protect Ndigbo and their property until the South East Governors wake up to their responsibility and put a regional security outfit that will protect Ndigbo”
In its reaction, Imo State, Chief Press Secretary/ Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma, Oguwike Nwachukwu said: “People are just getting worried and afraid for no just cause.
“Orsu local government area where security personnel are combing shares boundary with Anambra State; they are just combing, not molesting anybody.
“People have no need to get agitated and afraid. They are trained for what they are doing”.