Orlu Airstrikes: Everything We Know

February 18, 2021

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In Orlu, Nigerian military fighter jets have been conducting airstrikes amidst rising tension. Around 9 am today, a video showing one out of a number of military fighter jets shooting at a nearby bush in Orlu, Imo state, began to make the rounds on social media.

In one of the videos, residents of the Orlu community can be seen running for their lives as the fighter jets continue to shoot. These videos have left Nigerians afraid for the lives of innocent people living in Orlu, with many unsure why the Nigerian military is bombarding a city populated by civilians. 

But why are the airstrikes happening?

The strikes are believed to be an attempt by the Nigerian military to find operatives of the Eastern Security Network, a security outfit set up by Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, to secure communities against attacks from armed Fulani herdsmen.  When Kanu launched the outfit on December 12, 2020, he said the regional security unit would assist in the swift eradication of crimes in the East, just like Amotekun is doing in the South-West.

In January, the ESN had a clash with the Nigerian Army where four soldiers were said to have lost their lives. Following that incident, the Nigerian Army staged a retaliation/revenge mission which claimed more lives and resulted in the destruction of several properties. 

What is happening now?

Neither the Nigerian army nor the Air Force has made a statement regarding this development. And as it stands now, it is unclear what is happening in Orlu as no new reports have surfaced but we will keep updating this story with any new information that pops up.

Nelson

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