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The Abia State Government has placed a N25m bounty on the killers of five soldiers in the Aba area of the state and also condoled with the Chief of Army Staff, Taoreed Lagbaja over the incident. 

The military had blamed IPOB/ESN for the killing, vowing to “retaliate against this dastardly act against troops. The military would be fierce in its response”.

Gunmen on Thursday stormed the military unit at Obikabia Junction, Ogbor Hill area, and also burnt the unit as well as a patrol van parked in the unit. Some soldiers were alleged to have escaped the attack by the gunmen.

A day after the incident, the state government described it as unfortunate and prayed for the repose of the souls of the gallant soldiers who died on active duty.

To underscore its resolve, the State Government is offering a N25 million (Twenty-five Million Naira) reward to anyone with useful information that could lead to the location and arrest of any of the criminals connected to the unfortunate killings, and the subsequent state of apprehension across the city of Aba and environs,” a statement by the state Commissioner for Information and Culture Okey Kanu read.

The security formations in the State have been directed to treat informants with all the confidentiality required to guarantee their full cooperation and assistance until the criminals are fully apprehended and brought to book.”

Military Confirms Killing

Meanwhile, the military authorities had earlier confirmed the attack which it blamed on terrorists suspected to be the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).

According to the defence spokesman, Major General Edward Buba, the attack took place at Obikabia Junction Checkpoint in Obingwa Local Government Area adjourning Aba metropolis where troops of Operation Udoka were deployed to enforce peace in the area and protect the citizens.

He said the terrorists who attacked the troops in the surprise assault came in three-tinted Toyota Prado SUVs and others, from built-up areas surrounding the checkpoint, adding that six civilians were killed in the crossfire that ensued between the terrorists and the troops.

Buba said investigations are ongoing concerning the attack, stressing the military will retaliate the attack on its troops with their response brutal.

“Troops of OP UDO KA deployed at Obikabia Junction Checkpoint in Obingwa Local Government Area adjourning Aba metropolis in Abia State were attacked and sadly killed by terrorists of IPOB/ ESN.

“The troops deployed to enforce peace in the area and protect the citizens were massively attacked by the terrorists. The terrorists, in three-tinted Prado Toyota SUVs and others from built-up areas surrounding the checkpoint, sprang a surprise attack on the checkpoint. The attack sadly took the lives of 5 personnel of the armed forces killed in action.

“The armed forces mourn the death of these troops as each and every soldier lost in battle is a terrible loss. Meanwhile, investigations are ongoing concerning the attack.

Overall, it must be reiterated that the lifeline of the terrorist is the people and this situation is no exemption. Winning the war without the support of the people is close to impossible. The IPOB capitalised on this to perpetrate attacks on the troops. The situation leaves more to be desired.

“Accordingly, it is imperative that the military retaliate against this dastardly act against troops. The military would be fierce  in its response. We would bring overwhelming military pressure on the group to ensure  their total defeat,” the statement read.

Unmask Killers

Also, the Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum and Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, condemned the killing, asking the military to unmask the perpetrators.

Uzodimma who briefed journalists in Owerri on Thursday, described the attack as unfortunate.

“On behalf of my brother governors in the South East Governors’ Forum, I condemn that incident and loss of the lives of soldiers who were on their duty posts,” he said.

“Without any provocation, they were attacked by the men of the underworld. I want to condemn that and also to urge security agents to go all out and ensure that those behind that are caught and brought to book.

“It is unfortunate that this happened. Without any reason, innocent people who were doing their lawful duty were burned down.

“The unfortunate thing is that it is going to act as a major setback to the peace process which the governors from the South East have been pursuing in talking to the Federal Government, security agencies, and other critical stakeholders on how best to resolve the problem of insecurity in the South-East,” he said.

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