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Enugu: The camp of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) located inside the forest at Akpawfu community in Nkanu East local government area of Enugu State was raided on Friday by a combined team of security operatives killing several members of the group.

The casualty figure could not be ascertained but heavy sound of gunfire was still being heard from the area and within the communities of Akpugo and Amagunze.

The ESN members were said to have stiffly resisted the security operatives from accessing their camp, engaging them in a gun duel which, the source said, lasted for several hours.

Some security sources had linked the upsurge in violent crimes in Enugu State to ESN operatives who settled in Enugu State after fleeing from Imo State.

Residents of the three communities were said to have fled their homes and sought refuge in the bush for fear of being arrested by the military men, who reportedly made several arrests.

“As I am talking to you now Akpawfu and neighboring communities of Akpugo and Amagunze have been deserted as the security men have invaded the entire area searching for the ESN members. The heavy sound of gunfire we are hearing could be likened to that of a raging war.

“There is confusion everywhere and we hope that the innocent residents who have nothing to do with the outlawed group are not made to suffer for the offense they did not commit,” said the source.

According to a reliable source, the raid was due to a tip off that the gunmen that attacked a police checkpoint at Obeagu, Awkunanaw on Wednesday evening operated from their camp at Akpawfu.

As learnt, three vehicles used by the gunmen during the attack on the checkpoint that claimed six lives including four policemen, were discovered by the police on Thursday. The recovered vehicles now parked at the Police Headquarters Enugu include a Hilux van with sirens and a Highlander SUV fully tinted.

Another car which reportedly fell into a ditch on the Akpawfu road during the recovery exercise was said to have been set ablaze by the gunmen, a security source said Friday.

Meanwhile, efforts to get official reaction of the state police command on the Friday encounter between the security operatives and the ESN members was not successful by press time.

The State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Daniel Ndukwe said he was yet to get details of the operation in the area and promised to speak on the development later.

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