Operatives of the Force Intelligence Response Team have arrested another suspected commander of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the armed wing of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, who have been accused of killing security agents and destroying private and government properties at the South-East and South-South regions of the country.
The suspect who identified himself as Emeoyiri Uzoma Benjamin but popularly known as ‘Onye Army’, was tracked down and arrested in Imo after intelligence gathered by the operatives confirmed that he participated in most of the attacks in Imo State.
He confessed to have participated in many attacks and also revealed how he and others were asked to kidnap and kill 10 young girls to make protective charms.
Plea for amnesty
Recounting his role as an ESN member, Onye Army claimed that he was made to believe that they would form part of the Generals that will rule in Biafra land when the dream is actualized.
“I am from Uzombe Town in Ugwuta Local Government Area of Imo State. I am 28-year-old and I attended only secondary school, but I left school without writing my SSCE exams in 2014. I started doing labouring jobs and started buying Nigeria Army forms. I bought four times and I also bought that of the Nigerian Navy, but I was not recruited, because I was using my brother’s result. I had the intention of writing my own exam and get my own result if I got recruited into the army. I also went to Lagos where I secured a job as a security man and I worked with a company that sells building materials, I did that job until 2017 when I relocated back to my village and became a carpenter.
“While I was in the village one John, who is from my town, approached me. He knew that I was looking for a military job and advised me join IPOB in 2019. I started attending IPOB meetings in Orlu every Sunday. We used to have the meetings in a building close to the Teaching Hospital. I attended the meeting until November 2020 when Mazi Nnamdi Kanu formed the ESN and he said he didn’t want any security agents in the South-East and all he wanted was just ESN operatives providing Security in the South-East. I volunteered to join the ESN and I was trained in a camp close to the Niger Bridge, but I do not know the name of the village. I spent two weeks in that camp and there were also several other people in the camp who came for ESN training from several parts of the country. But before I went to the camp, I was at a Sabbath Church in Orlu owned by one Alewa Nwachukwu, in Okporo area. While at the camp, we were given military training and our phones were sized from us. We were not talking to Nnamdi Kanu directly but we were receiving his instructions from the leaders of our camp. After our training, we were given boots and uniforms and he asked us all to go back to our state commanders. My state commander was late Ikonso, who was the person commanding Imo State before his death. We were not given any money. We were assured that at the end of the struggle, we would be appointed Generals automatically. We returned to our commanders with just the uniforms and the boots. When we got back to Imo State, I reported back to the Sabbath Church which served as one of our camps at that time, then Nnamdi Kanu announced and ordered that he didn’t want to see any police or military check point in the South-East. The order was given through radio and all the ESN State Commanders asked their fighters to comply with the orders, Nnamdi Kanu said that we should dismantle all checkpoint and even kill the security agents manning them, because they were killing Igbo people. I believed him and obeyed the orders because I have taken an oath to obey Nnamdi Kanu, who is the supreme leader of the IPOB.
On the first attack, Ikonso brought two AK47 rifle and two of our members brought two locally made guns. We attacked a police check point in Orlu and we killed a police officer and two of our members were also killed. The police officers ran away. We burnt their vehicle and took away one of the police rifles. We all returned to the Sabbath church owned by Alewa and then the police came and attacked the place.
Then we relocated to a farm that belongs to one of our members in Awo-Idemili, Anambra State. From there, we also attacked several other police stations and checkpoints. It was Ikonso, Engineer Mike and Temple that organised the attack at the Owerri Prison and Imo State Police Command, where several inmates were freed and more than 50 police rifles were carted away. We came with over 100 fighters. We carried out few other attacks on security formations in Imo and Anambra State, before Ikonso was killed.”
On the death of Ikonso, he claimed that he had no choice but to flee when he ran out of bullets.
“I was in his residence on the night he was attacked by security agents. I fought with my own Ak47 rifle, but I abandoned it and escape through back gate when I expended all the bullets in the rifle. After the death of Ikonso, we went and burnt the governor’s house and killed a security man in retaliation. It was Eng. Mike that led us. I was part of those that shot at the gate.
“We also burnt a house in Awonmanma belonging to someone they said might have given the security agents information on Ikonso. We killed a dog and burnt a Sienna bus. Eng Mike then took us to his village in Awo-idemili and we attacked a house belonging to someone against our struggle and we killed two persons in it.
I then relocated to Temple’s camp and we were ordered to attack Orlu Police Division and free our fighters who were arrested and detained in it. We went in ten vehicles, over 50 fighters and we had over 30 rifles with us. I was in a white Sienna and late Dragon was in a red car. But before we got to the police station, we did a shooting display that was circulated on the social media on the day we went to attack Orlu Police Station.
The white and red clothes we tied on our bodies on the video are charms that we call local bullet proof. We prepared charms with the heads of 10 young girls before we proceeded in attacking the Orlu Police Station. Temple and Mike brought the suggestion that we should get the girls we used for the charms and we got all of them here in Imo State. But before we got to the Orlu Police Station, a police armourer vehicle attacked us and killed 12 of our fighters and injured four. Dragon died during that attack.
“After we escaped from that attack, I went to our Ideato camp and relaxed, waiting for further directives. They are not paying us any money; they said we are freedom fighters. Most of the police officers I killed are also Igbo people, I did not know. We thought they are from government. I am happy that Nnamdi has been arrested. Let us face the crime. But I am begging for amnesty from the Federal Government.”