The second-in-command to Ikonso, the neutralised commander of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)/ Eastern Security Network (ESN) has been arrested.
Awurum Eze was nabbed by security operatives in Aba, the commercial centre of Abia State in the south-east region of the country.
Who is the second in command?
The Director of Public Relations at the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, confirmed the arrest of the suspect in a statement on Wednesday.
Forty-eight years old Eze is a native of Umoneke Nta in Isiala-Mbano Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
On Tuesday last week, the IPOB member was said to have 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,” said the army spokesman.
He added, “He (Eze) was eventually apprehended on Wednesday, 12 May 2022, 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), amongst all their leaders in Imo State, only Ikonso and Awurum have a direct communication link with Nnamdi Kanu.
He stated, “He can be seen in several photographs posing with the fugitive terrorist 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.
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 Department of State Services (DSS).