While on search and rescue operation to extricate abducted Nigerian soldier who was allegedly kidnapped by IPOB/ESN members on November 2, 2022, in Abia State, Nigerian Army troops made contact with members of the proscribed armed groups resulting in exchange of fire.
According to a statement released by the Nigerian Army through Brigadier General Onyeama Nwachukwu, director army public relations, troops embarked on a Search and Rescue Operation at Amangu Village/Forest, having confirmed through intelligence report that the same village is where the abducted soldier is being held hostage.
Nwachukwu said in the statement that the abducted Nigerian soldier, named Staff Sergeant Bassey Ikunugwan, who was officially on leave pass, was abducted along Road Okwu-Ebem Ohafia in Abia State.
He said the search and rescue operation kicked off on Thursday, 3rd November 2022, at Amangu Village/Forest.
He said during the search and rescue operations, troops made contact with the hoodlums resulting in exchange of fire.
The statement reads;
“In continuation of the search and rescue operations, on 4 November 2022, troops deployed at Okon Aku in Abia State came in contact with members of the armed groups, during which troops neutralized one of the criminals and recovered one AK 47 rifle with a magazine loaded with 7 rounds of 7.62mm (Special) and one mobile phone.
“In a follow up operation on 5 November 2022, troops raided another enclave of the groups around Amangu Village in Abia State. During the operation, troops neutralized two of the criminals, while some fled with gunshot wounds. Troops recovered two locally fabricated AK 47 rifles, four Pump Action guns, one locally made Pistol, one Sniper rifle, six magazines, 13 rounds of 7.62mm (NATO) and one Motorcycle.
“Other items recovered from the dissidents are 2 CCTV cameras, one solar panel, flags, one walkie-talkie, 2 mobile phones, two pamphlets of Biafran anthem, one INEC box, 12 face caps, machetes, pairs of combat boots, pairs of rain boot, camouflage uniforms, one transistor radio, two jungle hats, two knee guards, one power bank, one INEC image capturing machine and a PVC. Sadly, during these engagements, one soldier paid the supreme sacrifice.
Nwachukwu said the Nigerian Army will leave no stone unturned in the search of the abducted soldier. He also assures the general public that all operations will be conducted within the ambit of the law and in line with global best practices, Rules of Engagement and Code of Conducts guiding Nigerian Army operations.
The statement further reads;
“It should be clear to all that criminal acts of attack on and abduction of service personnel is an act against the State which will not go without consequences. The recourse to employment of propaganda by these criminal elements will not deter the Army from carrying out its constitutional mandate. Law abiding citizens of Amangu community are also advised to go about their legitimate businesses without panic, as the military is always on ground to protect lives and properties.”
Source: The Nigerian Army