Orlu, the commercial and social centre of Orlu Local Government Area of Imo has been deserted following a massive manhunt for members of Eastern Security Network (ESN), the militant wing of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), which has been waging a relentless war against security men.
The group is said to be behind the spate of attacks on military and police formations, including public institutions.
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The latest in their atrocious acts was a failed attack on the Orlu Divisional Police Headquarters, in which 11 of them met their waterloo.
Our correspondent gathered that the heavy police presence in the commercial city has forced many residents indoors as fear of indiscriminate arrests heightened.
They are also afraid of being caught up in an eventual gun duel between security men and the “unknown gunmen”.
One of the residents, who spoke on phone to our correspondent, painted a picture of a city in utter darkness.
Orlu has been in the news since late last year when some members of ESN allegedly attacked and killed some soldiers.
In reprisal, the state government ordered a crackdown of the group.
It was also gathered that most of the residents, especially those in the city centre, did not go to church on Sunday as security remained tight.
According to her, “Orlu, as I am speaking to you, is deserted.
“You can hear the drop of a pin in once boisterous town. Nobody wants to die of a stray bullet.
“My family and I did our quiet prayers at home even though the home is not altogether safe.”
A security source told our correspondent that they have been mandated to sweep out members of the militant group.