An operative of the Eastern Security Network, the militant arm of the Indigenous People of Biafra has been arrested by the police, who narrated how he and other members broke into the Imo State Police Command and the Imo State Correctional facility in Owerri, the state capital.
SaharaReporters learnt that the suspect, who gave his name only as Andy, alias Japan, was arrested in the Orsu Local Government Area of Imo State, and confessed to have participated in the April 5 invasion of the two government buildings in the state capital.
In a video recording of his confession, Andy said he and others were conveyed in a bus before dawn as they invaded the correctional centre. He noted that he and others broke the windows of the correctional facility as the inmates ran out.
He said, “My name is Andy alias Japan. I come from Orsu LGA. I joined the ESN about three years ago. I participated in the attack on the police headquarters and prison.
“I followed. We did it because of some of our members who were in the prison. We went to rescue them. I don’t know anyone of the inmates. I was not armed; I was only carrying a big stick. I entered the prison. I broke the windows and glasses. I joined the ESN because they were freedom fighters. We are looking for freedom.
“Our bus was the one which first passed. I only heard that they killed soldiers. I was in a small bus; we picked another guy on the road. As I am now, I know I have offended, but the government should free me. I have been living in Igweocha (Rivers State). I am married and I have children. They (ESN) don’t pay me one naira. They don’t pay anything. When Biafra comes, they will take care of us and our children.”
SaharaReporters had on Tuesday, April 20, reported that security personnel stormed some Imo State communities to carry out raids, discreet searches and arrests of youths and residents who are suspected to be linked to the Indigenous People of Biafra and its military arm, the Eastern Security Network.
Multiple sources had told SaharaReporters that the military personnel, suspected to be led by the 34 Artillery Brigade, Owerri, since Sunday had been arresting male residents and youths particularly in Oguta and Ohaji communities and clamping them into vans.
Imo State has been a hotbed of violence and killings which got to a head on April 5, when the notorious gunmen attacked the state police command headquarters, and freed no fewer than 2,000 inmates at the headquarters of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Owerri.
The gunmen had also attacked the office of the State Criminal Investigation Department of the state police command, freeing suspects there.
The attackers had burnt all the vehicles parked at the command headquarters and freed all the suspects in almost all the cells at the SCID.
SaharaReporters had reported that the gunmen operated in over 10 vehicles, and also attacked soldiers stationed at Umuorji along Owerri–Onitsha Expressway.
Earlier, four police divisional headquarters had been attacked since February. They include Obowo, Aboh Mbaise and Ihitte/Uboma, divisions.
Unknown gunmen on March 20 also razed the Isiala Mbano Police Divisional Headquarters located at Umuelemai in Imo State.
The gunmen had invaded the divisional headquarters armoury and freed suspects in the detention facility and carted away arms.
While some had fingered the IPOB and ESN as the culprits, the state government had said the gunmen were being used by aggrieved politicians, while the IPOB has also denied its involvement in the attacks.