The Nigerian Army says it has arrested one Awurum Eze, alleged to be the Second-in-Command to Ikonso, the killed commander of the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
The Director, Army Public Relations disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday, saying the 48-year-old Awurum Eze native of Umoneke Nta in the Isiala-Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State was arrested in Aba, Abia State during a raid.
According to the statement, he had escaped from his village on May 4 when the operatives of Intelligence Response Team (IRT) stormed his village house.
The army spokesman said, “The Second-in-Command to the neutralised IPOB/ESN Terrorist leader Ikonso, Awurum Eze, has been arrested by security operatives in Aba, Abia State.
“The 48-year-old Awurum Eze, a native of Umoneke Nta, Isiala-Mbano LGA, Imo State, had on the 4th of May, 2021 escaped when operatives of Intelligence Response Team (IRT) stormed his village house in Isiala Mbano where he was hiding.
“Intensive manhunt was thereafter launched towards tracing and arresting him. He was eventually apprehended on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Aba after weeks of unrelenting follow-ups by operatives.
“Awurum Eze is one of the main sponsors of the numerous killings in Imo State and has been on the wanted list of security agents for more than 3 months.
“Many of the arrested IPOB /ESN terrorists had earlier mentioned him as their key sponsor, mastermind and Second-in-Command to the late Ikonso. According to them, amongst all their leaders in Imo State, only Ikonso and Awurum have direct communication link with Nnamdi Kanu. He can be seen in several photographs posing with the fugitive terrorist leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
“Investigation by the combined team of security operatives continues.”
The Nigerian Army had said in a statement on April, 24 that Ikonso and six other ESN members were killed earlier in the day during exchange of fire when a joint team o the Nigeria Police, the Nigerian Army and Department of State Services (DSS) raided what it called the operational headquarters of ESN in Awomama Village Oru East LGA of Imo State.
But, in reaction, IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu insisted that there was no such thing. He said Ikonso was killed while asleep at his father’s compound in his village.