The inspector-general of police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu has ordered the use of maximum force on members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) who he said carried out the attack on the Imo police command headquarters.
The IG gave the order on Tuesday when he visited the command headquarters which was attacked alongside the federal prison in Owerri, the state capital.
Some police vehicles were also razed in the incident which the IGP said was masterminded by IPOB.
Speaking after inspecting the damage caused by the attack, the IGP directed police officers to use “maximum force” against IPOB which has been outlawed as a terrorist organisation.
He also said there is “no hiding place” for the IPOB members.
“Those that were released by the attackers, I have been told, some of them belong to the IPOB group; the proscribed IPOB group,” he said.
“We are sending this message to them that there will be no hiding place. They will be re-arrested and many more of the criminals within that group will be arrested.
“Whether in their homes and forest, we are determined to fish them out. I have instructed my men to use maximum force with the guns available to us.
“We have the authority to defend the country, which they don’t have. We will not allow these criminals to succeed.”
The IGP also asked Imo residents and leaders to join hands in fishing out criminals operating in the state.
Monday’s attacks were the latest in the growing security incidents targeting security facilities in the south-east since IPOB launched its Eastern Security Network (ESN).
While the group has often been mentioned as suspects in the attacks, it has maintained its members are peaceful.
Emma Powerful, IPOB spokesman, had said that they have no hand in Monday’s attacks in Imo but the police disagree with the claim.
Frank Mba, the police spokesperson, had said preliminary investigations revealed that: “The attackers, who came in their numbers with sophisticated weapons such as General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs), Sub-Machine Guns (SMGs), AK49 rifles, Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs), Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), are members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)/Eastern Security Network (ESN).”