Orlu deserted as military intensify manhunt for IPOB, ESN members

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Joint Military Task Force have intensified manhunt for members of the Indeginous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and the Eastern Security Network (ESN) in Orlu, the commercial and social centre of Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State.

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The group is said to be behind the spate of attacks on military and police formations, including public institutions in the South-East and South-South states.

The latest of such moves was the foiled attempt on the Orlu Divisional Police Headquarters, on Thursday, in which 11 of ESN members met their waterloo.

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Our correspondent gathered that the heavy police presence in the commercial city has forced many residents indoors as fear of indiscriminate arrests heightened.

Residents are also afraid of being caught up in an eventual gun duel between security men and the “unknown gunmen”.

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Orlu has been in the news since late last year when some suspected members of ESN attacked and killed some soldiers. In response, the state government ordered a crackdown on the group.

It was also gathered that most of the residents, especially those in the city centre did not go to church on Sunday as security remained tight.

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One of the residents, who spoke on phone to our correspondent painted a picture of a city enveloped by darkness.

According to her, “Orlu, as I am speaking to you, is deserted. You can hear the drop of a pin in once boisterous town. Nobody wants to die of a stray bullet.

“My family and I did our quiet prayers at home even though the home is not altogether safe.”

A security source told our correspondent that they have been mandated to sweep out members of the militant group.

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