The Police in Ebonyi State said they have arrested 60 self-confessed members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) and Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other suspected criminal elements in the state.
The state commissioner of police, CP Aliyu Garba, said the arrest was made through the crime-fighting efforts of the operational strategies put in place to achieve the goals of Operation Restore Peace by the Inspector-general of Police (IGP).
The commissioner who stated this while briefing journalists at the Command headquarters, Abakaliki, said that men of the state command gathered that at about 18; 30hrs on 23th May 2021, suspected members of ESN/ IPOB members were meeting at Agubia Ikwo in the resident of one Ebube Ivom, ‘male’, age 31yrs.
Garba who described Ebube Ivom as the sector commander of ESN/IPOB noted that also in attendance during the meeting was a Cross River State-based native doctor (Ezemuo), who was invited to fortify members of the group with marks on different parts of their bodies.
He stated that the marks were to serve as antidotes to bullets in preparation to attack Onueke divisional police headquarters and INEC office both in Ezza South local government area of the state by 8:30pm of same day, 23th May, 2021.
He noted that the command, on receiving the information, swiftly deployed a team of police operatives in collaboration with neighborhood watch of Ikwo, adding that in the process 39 male suspects, made up of indigenes of Ebonyi State and two non-indigenes from neighboring Abia State, were arrested.
“Large quantities of juju charms were recovered from the suspects together with living creatures such as Tortoise and hawk,” the commissioner added.
The police commissioner noted that 8 suspects made useful statements to the Police, while one of them, Elom Daniel, 17, took men of the command to their hideout at Agbaja-Izzi community in Abakaliki local government area where the owner of the house escaped leaving behind his wife and a child.
“Upon intensive search of the house/premises, one Ak 47 Riffle with Thirty-five (35) live ammunition, 2 AR Riffles with 8 live ammunitions, 8 magazines, two locally fabricated Improvised Explosive (tested and certified), 5 Machetes, 1 Police belt and Some Juju charms were recovered from his house,” he stated.
He said Elom Daniel on interrogation revealed that he specialises in drawing the map of any planned area to be attacked by the group before execution, adding that he further admitted that the meeting at their State Sector commander’s resident was to attack Onueke Divisional Headquarters, INEC office and EbubeAgu Security Outfit on the said date.
Garba said, “Elom further stated that his group was responsible for the attack on the Army checkpoint at Amasiri in Afikpo North Local Government Area on 26th March, 2021where two Army officers were killed and their Rifles taken away”.
“He also claimed that his group was responsible for the attack on Central Police Station Abakaliki during the #ENDSARS protests, where a Police Inspector and one other were killed and the inspector’s rifle carted away”.
The CP stated that one of the AK 47 rifles recovered when crossed checked was found to be the same police rifle that was stolen by the hoodlums from the late Inspector at the Central Police Station, Abakaliki, during the said #ENDSARS protests.
He said, “Elom Daniel further narrated that his gang were also responsible for the attack at Onueke Police Station on 8th January, 2021 which claimed the lives of three Policemen.
“He also admitted that the gang attacked Nigeria Police Force Animal Branch Personnel attached to Agricultural Quarantine checkpoint, along Donkey Market, Ezzangbo in Ohaukwu L.G.A of the State on 23rd March, 2021 where two (2) Assault rifles were carted away by the hoodlums. The two rifles are among the recovered rifles.
“In a follow-up investigation, Elom Daniel led the Operatives to another Kingpin hideout who on sighting the Police took to flight, and in an attempt to maim him, was grievously wounded, the suspect was rushed to the Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (FETHA) where he gave up the ghost and his remains deposited at the same hospital mortuary for preservation”.