Police arrest 16 IPOB ESN members for allegedly killing security operatives in Southeast
The Nigerian police have arrested sixteen militants of the Indigenous People of Biafra’s and Eastern Security Network (ESN) for alleged complicity in a series of violent attacks on security operatives and facilities in some states in Southeast Nigeria.
“The arrest, which is an outcome of painstaking, deliberate and tireless efforts by operatives of the Nigeria Police working in collaboration with their counterparts from the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Airforce is aimed at bringing to justice persons responsible for the emerging trend of attacks on security personnel and wanton destruction of security facilities and operational assets,” police spokesman Frank Mba said.
“Suspects – Ugochukwu Samuel a.k.a Biggy, 28-year-old native of Arochukwu LGA in Abia State; Raphael Idang, 31-year-old native of Odukpani LGA of Cross River state; Cletus Nwachukwu Egole aka ‘Alewa’, 60-years-old native of Orlu in Imo State; Michael Uba, 33yrs from Imo State; and twelve (12) others in the course of investigation, were implicated in multiple felonies committed across several states in the South-Eastern part of the Federation.”
Mba said the suspects were arrested in various parts of the country following sustained, and intelligence-driven sting operations.
He said the police investigations clearly established and linked the suspects to several incidents of attacks and murder of security personnel as well as stealing, unlawful possession of firearms, arson and malicious damage to operational assets of military and law enforcement agents.
“Specifically, investigations revealed that the duo of Ugochukwu Samuel aka Biggy and Raphael Idang were among the criminal elements that attacked policemen on duty at a checkpoint on 24th December, 2020 along Orlu-Ihiala Road in Imo state where two police officers were killed and a Police Hilux patrol van set ablaze,” Mba said.
He further stated that the duo were part of a larger group that attacked a police reconnaissance team on 13th January, 2021 killing one police officer.
“Ugochukwu Samuel a.k.a Biggy, who sustained a bullet wound during an attack by his gang on a military convoy in which some soldiers were killed and weapons carted away, was subsequently arrested while receiving treatment in a hospital,”Mba said.
Mba noted that both suspects confessed to being active members of IPOB and ESN.
He said another suspects Cletus Nwachukwu Egole aka Alewa, a pastor with the Holy Blessed Trinity Sabbath Church, Orlu, Imo State and Michael Uba, a prophet with the Association of Jewish Faith, who were also arrested, are two of the masterminds of the various attacks on security personnel, in addition to providing spiritual cover for the gang.
Mba further stated that Egole was used by the gang members to plan their nefarious operations and he also donated his late brother’s farmland for use as a hideout and training camp for the gang.
“A total of nine (9) AK47 rifles, five (5) other sophisticated firearms, seventeen (17) AK47 Magazines, 549 AK47 live ammunition, 10 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), camouflage bullet proof vests, walkie talkies and other incriminating items were recovered from the suspects,” Mba said.
He, however, noted that the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu, has reiterated that the Force will not tolerate any further attack on its personnel or any citizen by any individual or group under any guise whatsoever.
Mba said all the suspects will be charged to court on conclusion of investigations.