The Nigerian Army has arrested Awurum Eze, second in command of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the militant arm of the outlawed pro-Biafra group, IPOB.

Army spokesperson, Mohammed Yerima, revealed this in a statement on Wednesday.

According to him, Mr Eze is the assistant to the late Ikonso, the ESN commander, who was killed weeks back in a gunfire exchange with security agents.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how a security team made up of officials of the Nigerian Army, the police and the State Security Service (SSS) raided the headquarters of the ESN.

At least 11 people were killed in the ensuing battle including four security operatives and a man described as the second in command of the ESN, an official said.

According to officials, Mr Ikonso was killed in a gun battle with the security team alongside six of his commanders.

Security agencies had blamed the group, which wants an independent country for Igbos, for the attacks on security officials and facilities but IPOB denied being responsible for the attacks.

Dozens of security officials have been killed in the South-east and South-south regions of Nigeria in recent attacks on security officials and facilities.

In the statement on Wednesday, the Army said Mr Eze was one of the main sponsors of the recent coordinated attacks on security agents in Imo State.

The statement also said Mr Eze and the late Ikonso had direct link with the leader of the IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.

Read full statement by the Army:

SECURITY FORCES ARREST ANOTHER IPOB/ESN TERRORISTS’ HENCHMAN

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 years 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, 12 May 2022, 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 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.

Mohammed Yerima
Brigadier General
Director Army Public Relations
May 12, 2021

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