The Nigerian Army ‘s operation against the Eastern Security Network and Indigenous People of Biafra in Awomama Village, Oru East Local Government Area of Imo State was aided by local informants which led to the killing of top commander, Ikonso Don, and others, SaharaReporters has learnt.
Sources told SaharaReporters that Ikonso was also given away by some of his photographs shared on social media as well as by one of his friends, who had been in touch with security agencies for weeks, if not months.
“Ikonso Don was a well-known hardcore IPOB member. When the ESN was launched, he joined and participated in several operations, rising to later become a commander. He was going to his village in Umuoma alongside other ESN members when they were ambushed.
“He was targeted and killed after some of the Igbo he was fighting for gave out his details to the security forces,” a source explained.
“His photographs were also shared on social media by a friend and he was given away as the ESN commander. That was the same place his photograph with Nnamdi Kanu was obtained,” another source revealed.
On Saturday, the army stated that its troops and the police intelligence team killed Ikonso, known as Vice President, and six IPOB commanders who worked for the Eastern Security Network in a raid the operatives carried out on the “operational Headquarters of the IPOB/ESN terrorists in Awomama village.”
The army had confirmed that an officer and three policemen were also shot dead by the ESN during the gun battle on Saturday.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Mohammed Yerima, released a photograph of Ikonso with IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, as well as of the shrine where the ESN and IPOB fighters reportedly gathered in Oru East.
The army spokesman had revealed that they had been on the trail of Ikonso and other ESN commanders for weeks before he was finally captured.
“The IRT and DSS teams along with troops of 82 Division of the Nigerian Army have been on the trail of the terror group since the unfortunate attacks on the Imo State Police Command and the Owerri Correctional Center on April 5.
“The said Ikonso Commander, who was the mastermind of those attacks in addition to multiple attacks in the South-East and South-South regions, was neutralised along with six of his top Commanders.
“The joint intelligence team had earlier interviewed several arrested IPOB/ESN terrorists in connection with the April 5 attacks and they all confessed that Ikonso Commander who was named as Vice President by their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, was the one that mobilised men and resources as well as ordered and orchestrated the attacks on Owerri.
“They equally revealed that Ikonso was responsible for many other attacks on police stations across the two geo-political zones. The intelligence team later tracked the IPOB/ESN top leader to his exact location in Awomama village where he (Ikonson) and his commanders were hibernating and plotting dastardly acts against the Nigerian state.
“The neutralised Ikonso Commander had on several occasions posed for photographs with the fugitive leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu,” the army stated.
IPOB’s spokesman, Emma Powerful, said on Sunday that Ikonso was truly ambushed.
“Yesterday (Saturday), our commander went to his village. They ambushed him with some politicians. They ordered the military to kill him. In Imo State, they arrested more than 50 people. They have been going to people’s houses to arrest them; in Anambra, they arrested so many people; in Abia, they arrested so many people,” he stated.