The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has said it would not back down from the confrontation with the Nigerian Army in Orlu, Imo State, as it was prepared to defend “Biafra land” from “foreign invaders.”
This comes as confrontation between the separatist group and the Nigerian Army escalated on Thursday, with the army conducting aerial operations in search of camps of IPOB’s Eastern Security Network (ESN).
There had been a heavy security presence in the communities since last Friday, with the military combing forests in the communities and dislodging suspected ESN members.
The operation escalated on Thursday when the military deployed helicopters around communities, creating panic.
Spokesperson of the Army’s 34 Artillery Brigade, Obinze in Owerri, Babatunde Zubairu, confirmed the deployment of aircraft and other military gadgets.
He said the operation was an offshoot of military intelligence, adding that locals were not being harassed.
Responding to the development in a statement on Thursday, however, Mr. Chika Edoziem, IPOB’s Head of Communication Directorate, said the army had brought war upon them, promising the group would not cede any inch of “Biafra” to anyone.
“The Nigerian government through its military has finally declared open confrontation with the Biafran people in their bid to harass, intimidate and cow us into submission to relinquish our ancestral lands to foreign Fulani terrorists,” he said.
“The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) worldwide must gird their loins and be prepared for the long drawn out battle ahead. The leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra make bold to state unequivocally that there shall be no inch of Biafran land (Biafran territory) to be ceded to the Fulani Marauders from the Sahel. The Nigerian army has thrown the gauntlet and we the Indigenous People of Biafra Shall accept their challenge because there will neither be retreat nor surrender on this our journey to liberty and freedom.
“Now that the Nigerian government has activated its final solution to the Biafran question with Helicopter gunships in Orlu, they have crossed the line of no return and for us the Indigenous People of Biafra there is only one option that is open for us. We MUST defend every inch of our ancestral land and we MUST defend our inalienable right to live in the land of our ancestors as a free people to develop our CHUKWUOKIKEABIAMA given talents for the benefit and elevation of our people just like our ancestors did thousands of years before us,
“Every IPOB family member should be very conscious of the time we have entered and exhibit the highest level of discipline and be ready to follow every directive as will be issued by Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) worldwide.”