The leadership and members of the Forum of Imo-Based Newspaper Editors (FINE) have received with mixed feelings the reported heavy military presence in Orlu and Orsu axis of Imo State allegedly trying to flush out members of a group- Eastern Security Network (ESN).
In a release signed by the Interim Chairman and Secretary of the Forum, Max Chinedu Egere and Elder Chigozie Uzosike respectively, it noted that there has been alleged aerial and ground assault by troops combing the bushes in search of the ESN members. FINE members are worried that such military campaign in rather peaceful rural communities is capable of causing panic, injuries and deaths.
“We condemn this particular assault on Orlu and Orsu axis of Imo State by the military especially bearing in the mind that Imo rural communities are mainly farmers who may be caught up in the campaign and mistaken as ESN members”.
“One wonders why the residents of these areas were not informed that there will be military exercise to flush out suspected ESN members. We call on Governor Hope Uzodinma to call out these soldiers as their presence and operations are already causing ripples in the areas and beyond”.
“Governor Hope Uzodinma should stand up as the chief security officer of the state and defend Imo citizens, especially Orlu and Orsu people. We equally wonder why Imo political, religious, academic and traditional leaders have kept mum over this military siege on Orlu and Orsu axis of Imo State”.
“The federal government and military authorities should halt this particular military campaign in Imo and not end up turning the most peaceful state in the Southeast into a theatre of war. The Forum, however, urged citizens to be law abiding and not take laws into their hands”.