Emeoyiri Benjamin, the commander of the Eastern Security Network, the paramilitary arm of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has said the group members drew their powers from the killing of 10 girls for rituals.

Benjamin was arrested recently after intense operations by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team deployed in Imo.

He had played significant roles in some bloody attacks carried out by the ESN in Imo State.

According to the 28-year-old Benjamin, he and his gang members drew their power from charms prepared with the heads of 10 young girls they abducted in the state.

Initiation

Nicknamed Onye Army, Benjamin joined ESN in 2020 and was trained in a camp for two weeks.

Benjamin, who hailed from Uzombe town in Uguta, Imo State, said he was approached by one John in 2019.

Having failed to secure a military job for a long time, John advised him to join IPOB and he attended IPOB meetings in Orlu every Sunday, until when Nnamdi Kanu formed ESN in November 2020.

He said he was one of the leading figures in the attack on Owerri Custodial Centre, Imo Police Command headquarters, Orlu Police Station and the home of the state Governor, Hope Uzodimma attacks.

Hundreds of inmates escaped during the prison break and a security personnel was killed in the governor’s residence in Omuma.

Benjamin said: “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.

“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.”

Revenge

According to him, they attacked Uzodimma’s house to avenge the killing of a top ESN commander, one Ikonso.

Their first escapade was an attack on a police checkpoint in Orlu during which three security operatives were killed in a fierce gun battle.

And when their camp in Orlu was busted by police operatives, they relocated to Anambra State, where they renewed attacks on police formations.

He added: “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.”

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At least, 30 people have been killed, according to Benjamin to avenge Ikonso’s death.

He stated: “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.”

Daily Trust