Emeoyiri Benjamin, a commander of the Eastern Security Network, the paramilitary arm of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has narrated how the group staged some deadly attacks in the South-East region, including him and other members using the heads of 10 girls to prepare charms.
The 28-year-old Benjamin, who was apprehended recently by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team deployed in Imo, disclosed this when journalists were granted access to interview him.
According to the captured ESN commander, he joined ESN in 2020 because he was looking for a military job, noting that he was trained in a camp for two weeks.
The suspect, popularly known as “Onye Army”, disclosed that after his training, he was dire4cted to return back to his base and was given instructions alongside other ESN members that they should destroy every police and military checkpoint in the South-East region.
He confirmed that he participated in the attacks on Owerri Correctional Centre, Imo Police Command headquarters, Orlu Police Station and the country home of the state Governor, Hope Uzodimma.
He said: “I am from Uzombe town in Uguta, Imo State. I was in the village in 2019 when one John approached me. He knew I had been looking for a military job without success so he advised me to join IPOB. I was attending IPOB meetings in Orlu every Sunday. I attended the meeting until November 2020 when Mazi Nnamdi Kanu formed the ESN.
“I volunteered to join the ESN and I was trained with many others from different parts of the country in a camp close to the Niger Bridge. Before I went to the camp, I was living in a church in Orlu owned by Nwachukwu. While at the camp, we were given military training and our phones were seized from us.
“After our training we were given boots and uniforms and asked to go back to our various state commanders. My state commander was the late Ikonso. We were not given any money. When I got back to Imo State, I reported back to the church which served as one of our camps at that time. Then, we got an order that there shouldn’t be any police or military checkpoints in the South-East. All the ESN state commanders asked their fighters to comply with the order. I also obeyed the order because I have taken an oath.”
Benjamin said they first attacked a police checkpoint in Orlu during which a policeman and two of his members were killed in a gun battle, adding that they stole 50 rifles when the ESn attacked the Imo police headquarters in Owerri, the state capital.
According to him, the ESN attacked the country home of Hope Uzodinma, Governor of Imo State, in Oru East Local Government Area of the stateto avenge the killing of Ikonso, who he described as a top ESN commander.
He stated that policemen destroyed their camp in the Orlu axis of the state, which forced he and other members of the group to relocate to Anambra State, where they continued attacks on police stations and checkpoints.
He said: “Ikonso, one Engineer Mike and Temple organised the attack on the Owerri Prison and Imo State Police Command headquarters. We stole 50 police rifles. We were over 100 fighters who went for the operation but on our way back, some soldiers attacked us and many of our fighters were killed.
“We carried out a few other attacks on security formations in Imo and Anambra states before Ikonso was killed in his residence. After his death, we burnt the governor’s house and killed a security man.”
The suspect explained that in preparation for the attacks to revenge Ikonso’s death, he and other members of the ESN abducted and decapitated 10 girls and used their heads for charms.
He stated that they had killed 30 persons so far in vengeance for Ikonso’s killing and were on their way to Orlu Police Division to free their members detained at the station when they were captured.
“We went in 10 vehicles. We tied white and red clothes on our bodies for protection against bullets. We prepared the charms with the heads of 10 young girls.
“Temple and Mike came up with the suggestion to use the girls for the charms and we abducted them in Imo State. Unfortunately, before we got to the Orlu Police Station, a police armoured vehicle attacked us and killed 12 of our fighters and injured four others,” he said.