A second Lieutenant and three IRT operatives paid the ultimate price as the Nigerian Army on Saturday 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.”
A statement by Army spokesman, Mohammed Yerima said the early morning 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 him, the raid followed intelligence report on the location of the terrorists’ Operational Headquarters and the movement of the overall Commander popularly known as Ikonson Commander, who he said was killed during exchange of fire. Six of his top commanders were also reportedly killed.
The statement said, “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.”