Emeoyiri Benjamin had always wanted to be a soldier, and an opportunity came when IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu launched the Eastern Security Network in 2020.
Until his arrest by the IGP Intelligence Response Team, Benjamin aka Onye Army had moved up the ranks, participated in killing security agents, abduction, and murdering of young girls.
He’s just 28, and already a commander, after a two-week bootcamp near the Niger bridge, and baptism of fire under the late Ikonso, Kanu’s second in command.
The late militant leader was actually Onye’s commander.
“When I got back to Imo State, I reported back to the church which served as one of our camps at that time,” he said.
Onye really got to see action recently when Ikonso ordered IPOB to ensure there’s no checkpoint in the southeast, and also when security agents killed Ikonso.
“All the ESN state commanders asked their fighters to comply with the order. I also obeyed the order because I have taken an oath,” Onye told the police”
When a combined team of the police and DSS invaded an Orlu LGA community where Ikonso and others camped out, the second in command was among the half a dozen killed. Many other fighters were later arrested.
The counter-attack by the ESN was swift—to free detained members, and avenged the killing of Ikonso.
Onye said that he participated in the attacks on Owerri Correctional Centre, Imo Police Command headquarters, Orlu Police Station and the country home of the state Governor, Hope Uzodimma.
“Ikonso, one Engineer Mike and Temple organised the attack on the Owerri Prison and Imo State Police Command headquarters. We stole 50 police rifles,” he said, though IPOB initially denied it.
In the attacks he participated in, no fewer than 30 security agents were killed. But he, too, lost his men.
They first attacked a police checkpoint in Orlu. They killed a cop. Two of his members were also killed in the gun battle.
When 100 of them on their way back from the prison attack ran into an army ambush, they got whitewashed, too.
“They attacked us and many of our fighters were killed,” he said.
The Orlu Police Division attack was also spectacular in that it was supposed to be a spiritual war.
According to him, Mike and Temple suggested they have some spiritual fortification before they attack the division. They needed 10 girls-their heads—for the charms.
“Temple and Mike came up with the suggestion to use the girls for the charms and we abducted them in Imo State.”
Certain they were bullet-proof, Onye and his men went in 10 vehicles. They tied white and red clothes on their bodies for protection.
“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, he said.
Juju has been a major spiritual arm all the criminal and separatist groups—IPOB, Ilana Omo Oodua, bandits, Boko Haram—kill for in Nigeria.
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