The Nigerian Army will be moving in new ammunition and explosives into the 34 Artillery Brigade in Obinze, near Owerri in Imo State, in an apparent show-of-force to dislodge the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Eastern Security Network operatives.
SaharaReporters learnt from reliable military sources that the army planned to blow off some of its expired military hardware, including explosives, to create panic for the IPOB and ESN militants and wade them off security stations.
The 34 brigade confirmed this on Friday, saying the blowing of explosives would last from May 14 (yesterday) to May 21.
The acting Assistant Director of Army Public Relations, Lt. Babatunde Zubairu, in a statement, however, called it the “demolition of unserviceable ammunition and explosives.”
Zubairu said the 82 Base Ammunition Depot would conduct the exercise, Enugu, from May 14 to May 21, adding that the exercise would take place between 7am and 5pm daily throughout the period.
“The people of Obinze and surrounding communities are advised to keep away from the range area during the period of the exercise. This is not a cause for alarm as the Nigerian Army remains committed to the safety of Nigerians,” Zubairu had said.
“The message is clear. It is to warn the ESN and IPOB guys that the military is in town and there should be no nonsense. The army is also expecting to bring in a new cache of ammunition and other confidential artillery,” a source added.
SaharaReporters reported that the Nigerian military had drafted reinforcement troops from some of its formations fighting insurgency in Borno State to join the troops in the South-East region over the military’s clash with IPOB and ESN operatives.
Military sources had confirmed to SaharaReporters that the reinforcements were drawn from some battalions, including the 231 Tank Battalion in Biu, Borno State, under the 3 Armoured Division, Jos, Plateau State.
“Yes, some troops are moving from the North-East to the South-east as reinforcements. They started moving from Wednesday. Among them are those from the 231 Tank Battalion; they are believed to be more trained in quelling uprisings,” a top source had confirmed.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday held a meeting with the service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, telling them to adopt specific security measures in the South-East and the South-South geopolitical zones of the country.
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“The police and military have been recording casualties in the South-East during raids and gun battles with the criminals disturbing the region. Therefore, the focus would shift more to airpower in the coming weeks. Combat helicopters and other aircraft would be deployed to conduct massive raids on the hideouts from the air. It does not matter whether the hideouts are for the Indigenous People of Biafra or its armed outfit; what the military is looking for is criminals,” a source had revealed.