The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, says members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Eastern Security Network (ESN) are behind the attacks on a police command headquarters and federal prison in Imo State.
Gunmen had attacked the facilities in Owerri, Imo state capital, in the early hours of Monday.
Adamu said the invasion was carried out by the Eastern Security Network, an IPOB outfit.
The police spokesperson, Frank Mba in a statement on Monday, said: “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 IPOB/ESN.
“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 armoury. The armoury is thus intact! Similarly, the police suffered no human casualty, apart from a police constable who sustained a minor bullet wound on his shoulder.”
The IGP, who described the incident as an attack on “the soul of the nation,” called on members of the public to cooperate with the police on providing useful information that will lead to the arrest of the gunmen.
He also enjoined south-east leaders “to speak out against the unfolding violence and criminality”.
The police spokesman, however, added that the IGP has ordered the deployment of additional squads “to strengthen security in the state and prevent further attacks on security formations or any other critical national infrastructure in the state”.
He noted that a vehicle said to have conveyed the gunmen has been recovered, while the Imo commissioner of police has been directed to set up a special investigation team dedicated to addressing attacks on security formations in the state.
“The CP is to harness the security reinforcement squads and other operational assets at his disposal to take the battle to the door-steps of the attackers and prevent any further attack anywhere within the state and its environs,” Mba added.