The second-in-command to Ikonso, the Eastern Security Network, ESN, commander of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has been reportedly arrested.
The Director of Army Public Relations, Brig Gen. Mohammed Yerima, said that Awurum Eze, 48,was nabbed by security operatives in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of Abia State in the south-east region of the country.
Yerima, confirmed the arrest of the suspect in a statement on Wednesday, saying that Eze is a native of Umoneke Nta in Isiala-Mbano Local Government Area, LGA, of the state.
The ESN member was alleged to have earlier escaped when operatives of the Intelligence Response Team, IRT, stormed his village house in Isiala Mbano where he was reportedly hiding.
“Intensive manhunt was, thereafter, launched towards tracing and arresting him,” Yerima said, adding that, “He, Eze, was eventually apprehended on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Aba after weeks of unrelenting follow-ups by operatives.”
According to Yerima, 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 three months.
Many of the arrested IPOB members were said to have mentioned him as their key sponsor, mastermind, and second-in-command to late Ikonso, the army spokesman noted in the statement.
“According to them (the arrested suspects), among all their leaders in Imo State, only Ikonso and Awurum have a direct communication link with Nnamdi Kanu.
“He can be seen in several photographs posing with the fugitive leader, Nnamdi Kanu. Investigation by the combined team of security operatives continues.”
On April 24, the army confirmed the death of Ikonson – the overall commander and vice president of the secessionist group – by a combined team of security forces.
He was said to have been killed in a raid on the operational headquarters of the IPOB/ESN in Awomama Village in Oru East local government area of Imo State, but IPOB insisted that Ikonso was in his family house when he was allegedly murdered.
The operation was carried out by troops of 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, as well as operatives of the Police Intelligence Response Team, IRT, and the Department of State Services, DSS.