BEVERLY HILLS, April 24, (THEWILL) – Security operatives, comprising the police, Department of State Services (DSS) and soldiers of the Nigerian Army, on Saturday killed an alleged South-East Commander of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), six armed members of the group, and arrested several others during a deadly encounter in Imo State.
The commander, identified as Ikonso, the operatives alleged, coordinated the attacks on Imo State Police Command as well as the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) facility in Owerri that led to the escape of over 1,800 inmates.
The operatives were said to have stormed Ikonso’s Umuokwe country home late on Friday and engaged suspected IPOB members till early Saturday when they took over the premises.
The operation followed weeks of investigation and trailing of the alleged commander said to be a native of Awo-Omamma, a community located about 20 minutes from Owerri.
Ikonso, was allegedly the anchor man for all foreign donations to IPOB and the one who usually disbursed same to other sub+units.
Security sources privy to the operation said the Special Forces stormed the suspect’s mansion in the community but were attacked by armed militias on guard duty.
He said three policemen and a soldier were seriously wounded during the operation which lasted several hours.
“But the courageous policemen stood their grounds and exchanged fire for fire. The armed militias were many and wore their ‘bullet proof’ that makes security operatives think they are impenetrable.
“Despite that, our men took down seven of them including the commander who happens to be the owner of the house. He owns a big compound there and uses part as his residence while the other part is for IPOB operations.
“Three of our men and a soldier were seriously injured. They were evacuated from the scene. The operation lasted several hours. When they saw that the policemen were not retreating, the others escaped through the back.
“We recovered so many weapons and charms. We did not lose any of our rifles in the operation. We also evacuated those neutralised during the confrontation and have surrounded the property to prevent regrouping of the criminals.
“It was not an easy operation but we are thankful to the team for living up to their training and professional skills.”