The Nigerian Army on Saturday said it has led a combined team of security forces to raid “the operational Headquarters of the IPOB/ESN terrorists in Awomama Village, Oru East LGA of Imo State.”
The early morning Saturday raid was carried out by troops of “the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS),” according to a statement signed by Army spokesman, Mohammed Yerima.
The operation was put in motion “following a detailed intelligence report on the location of the terrorists’ Operational Headquarters and the movement of the overall Commander popularly known as Ikonson Commander.”
The statement added that, “The IRT and DSS teams along with troops of 82 Division of the Nigerian Army have been on the trail of the terror group since the unfortunate attacks on the Imo State Police Command and the Owerri Correctional Center on 5 April 2021.
“The said Ikonson Commander who was the mastermind of those attacks in addition to multiple attacks in the South East and South South regions, was neutralised along with 6 of his top Commanders.
“The joint intelligence team had earlier interviewed several arrested IPOB/ESN terrorists in connection with the April 5 attacks and they all confessed that Ikonson Commander who was named as Vice President by their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, was the one that mobilized men and resources as well as ordered and orchestrated the attacks on Owerri.
“They equally revealed that Ikonson was responsible for many other attacks on Police stations across the two geo-political zones.
“The intelligence team later tracked the IPOB/ESN top leader to his exact location in Awomama village where he (Ikonson) and his to Commanders were hibernating and plotting dastardly acts against the Nigerian state.
“On noticing the presence of the joint operations team, IPOB/ESN terrorists brought heavy volume of fire on the raiding team who swiftly responded and overwhelmed them with superior fire power that neutralised Ikonson and six of his top Commanders. Sadly however, a Second Lieutenant and three IRT operatives paid the supreme price in the fire fight that ensued. The four officers who fought gallantly have already been evacuated to a military facility in Owerri.
“So far, 3 AK 47 riffles, a Toyota Sienna van belonging to the terrorists and several other items of value including drugs suspected to be psychotropic substances were recovered and are being processed by the intelligence team to assist in further investigations and operations in the area. The joint security team is already dominating the general area while preparations for further operations are in top gear.
“The neutralised Ikonson Commander had in several occasions posed for photographs with the fugitive leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.”
The statement further noted that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru has commended the security officials involved in the operation.
“He prayed for the repose of the souls of the gallant officers who lost their lives in the operation, stressing that their sacrifice will never be in vain.” the statement said.
“The Nigerian Army along with other security agencies will sustain intelligence-based kinetic operations in the South East and South South until the regions are free of terrorist activities.”