How IPOB Commander And Attack Coordinator Saint Ikonso Was Killed In Imo State
How Kanu Appointed IPOB Commander Saint Ikonso Was Killed In Imo After Launching Deadly Attacks
On Saturday the 24th of April 2021, a special security squad swooped on alleged operational headquarters of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) in Imo State, killing a man said to be the coordinator of the recent deadly attacks on the headquarters of the State Police Command and the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) facility both in Owerri.
His name was given as Saint Ikonso.
Killed with him during the sting operation at Ikonso’s country home at Awomama village, Oru East Council Area of the state were six members of his gang.
Several others were arrested.
The security team comprising soldiers, policemen and Department of State Services (DSS) personnel, also recovered from the alleged gangsters assorted guns, ammunition and charms.
According to the Nation, the security team had trailed Ikonso and his men to the building following painstaking investigation of the Owerri attacks.
A gun battle ensued between the two sides as soon as the suspects sighted the team, which lasted till early yesterday with the bandits losing out.
By the time the exchange of gunfire subsided, Ikonso and six of his men lay dead.
Some reportedly managed to escape while some others were arrested.
Sources privy to the operation said the security team stood their ground and exchanged fire for fire.
A source said: “The armed militias were many and wore their ‘ juju bullet proof’ vests, which made them to think that they were immune to bullets.
“Despite that, our men took down seven of them, including the commander who happened to be the owner of the house. He owned a big compound there and used a part as his residence while the other part was for IPOB operations.
“The operation lasted several hours. When they saw that the security personnel were not retreating, the others escaped through the back.”
He said the security team later searched the compound and recovered assorted weapons and charms.
“We recovered many weapons and charms. We did not lose any of our rifles in the operation. We also evacuated those that were neutralised during the confrontation and have surrounded the property to prevent regrouping of the criminals.
“It was not an easy operation but we are thankful to the team for living up to their training and professional skills.”
Ikonso is said to be a native of Awo-Omamma, about 20 minutes drive from Owerri.
Sources said he coordinated all foreign donations to IPOB and usually disbursed same to IPOB sub units.
It was gathered that he had been promised the position of vice president in the ‘Republic of Biafra’ hence his dedication to the IPOB cause.
Confirming the operation via a statement, the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, said the operation was launched following “a detailed intelligence report on the location of the terrorists’ Operational Headquarters and the movement of the overall Commander popularly known as Ikonson Commander.”
He said four security operatives, including an Army officer and three Policemen were killed in the operation.
“The IRT (Intelligence Response Team) and DSS teams along with troops of 82 Division of the Nigerian Army have been on the trail of the terror group since the unfortunate attacks on the Imo State Police Command and the Owerri Correctional Centre on 5 April, 2021.
“The said Ikonson Commander, who was the mastermind of those attacks in addition to multiple attacks in the South East and South South regions, was neutralised along with six of his top Commanders.
“The joint intelligence team had earlier interviewed several arrested IPOB/ESN terrorists in connection with the April 5 attacks, and they all confessed that Ikonson Commander who was named as Vice President by their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, was the one that mobilised men and resources as well as ordered and orchestrated the attacks on Owerri.
“They equally revealed that Ikonson was responsible for many other attacks on police stations across the two geo-political zones.
“The intelligence team later tracked the IPOB/ESN top leader to his exact location in Awomama village where he (Ikonson) and his commanders were hibernating and plotting dastardly acts against the Nigerian state.
“On noticing the presence of the joint operations team, IPOB/ESN terrorists brought heavy volume of fire on the raiding team who swiftly responded and overwhelmed them with superior fire power that neutralised Ikonson and six of his top commanders.
“Sadly however, a Second Lieutenant and three IRT operatives paid the supreme price in the fire fight that ensued. The four officers who fought gallantly have already been evacuated to a military facility in Owerri.
“So far, three AK 47 riffles, a Toyota Sienna van belonging to the terrorists and several other items of value including drugs suspected to be psychotropic substances were recovered and are being processed by the intelligence team to assist in further investigations and operations in the area.
The joint security team is already dominating the general area while preparations for further operations are in top gear.
“The neutralised Ikonso Commander had on several occasions posed for photographs with the fugitive leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.
“The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru has commended the troops, the Police IRT and DSS operatives for their determination in ensuring that the operation was a success.
“He prayed for the repose of the souls of the gallant officers who lost their lives in the operation, stressing that their sacrifice will never be in vain.
“The Nigerian Army along with other security agencies will sustain intelligence-based kinetic operations in the South East and South South until the regions are free of terrorist activities.”
One thousand eight hundred inmates of the Owerri Correctional Centre were let loose during the attack allegedly masterminded by Ikonso.