There is palpable tension in Enugu State as the Nigerian military in a joint operation with other security agencies invaded Akpawfu community in Nkanu East local government of the state, killing an undisclosed number of people and burning houses.
Truetells Nigeria learnt that the community came under heavy bombardments as land and air troops stormed the community in search of some suspected secret camps of members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and bandits.
The raids which, sources said, commenced since Thursday came to a head on Saturday morning with military helicopters dropping explosives in forests within Ajeme Akpawfu village where the Eastern Security Network, ESN, the militia arm of the IPOB believably used as camp.
Security sources revealed that some gunmen terrorising parts of Nkanu land and Enugu city were believed to be hiding in the forest.
It was learnt that the hoodlums in the remote forests also engaged the troops in a shootout but other details of how the raid affected other residents were still sketchy as of press time.
The area had been raided in 2021 where many of the hoodlums were reportedly neutralised and their camps destroyed, but the area has remained a major source of security threats in the state.
A resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that he had to relocate temporarily to Enugu for the safety of his family following heavy shootings.
He said, “As I am speaking with you, people of neighbouring communities of Oruku and Akpugo said they are hearing deafening sounds of explosives and sporadic gunshots and so many people have relocated from these communities for fear of being caught down in the operation. In fact, Akpawfu is not safe right now.
“The entire Ajeme Akawfu community has been under fire since Thursday and everybody has been running helter-skelter for safety. Truly speaking, there are many hoodlums claiming to be IPOB members and we have been living in fear. They kidnap, rape and hold people hostage for ransoms in the thick forests and they are also responsible for some of the armed attacks on innocent people around Nkanu land.”
The traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Nnamani, confirmed the military operation in the area.
He however could not ascertain the number of casualties, adding that he was out of the community following the development.
He said that members of his family including his wife and children left the community yesterday to a safe place, adding that many other residents must have also fled their homes.
The royal father who spoke on phone expressed the hope that peace would be restored to the community after the ongoing security operation.
The spokesperson of the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army could not be reached for comments by press time on Saturday.