Emeoyiri Benjamin, commander of the Eastern Security Network, the paramilitary wing of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), stated that the group’s members drew their powers from the killing of 10 girls for ritual purposes.
Benjamin was arrested after intensive operations by the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team in Imo.
He played a major role in the bloody attacks carried out by the ESN in Imo State.
The 28-year-old Benjamin says he and his gang members derived their strength from charms made with the heads of 10 young girls they kidnapped in the state.
Benjamin, nicknamed Onye Army, joined ESN in 2020 and was trained in a camp for two weeks.
Benjamin, who hails from Uzombe town in Uguta, Imo State, said he was approached by a man named John in 2019.
He has been unable to obtain a military job for a long time, so John advised him to join IPOB, and he attended IPOB meetings in Orlu every Sunday until Nnamdi Kanu founded ESN in November 2020.
According to him, he was one of the leaders behind the attacks on the Owerri Custodial Centre, Imo Police Command Headquarters, Orlu Police Station and the home of the state governor, Hope Uzodimma.
During the prison break, hundreds of inmates escaped and a security guard was killed in the governor’s residence in Omuma.
“I volunteered to become a member of the ESN and was trained with many others from different parts of the country in a camp near the Niger Bridge,” Benjamin said.
“Before I went to the camp, I was living in a church owned by Nwachukwu in Orlu. We received military training at the camp.
“After our training, we were given boots and uniforms and asked to report to our various state commanders. Ikonso was my state commander. Money was not given to us.
“When I got back to Imo State, I visited the church that served as one of our camps at the time.
“We received an order that no police or military checkpoints should exist in the south-east.
“All ESN state commanders told their fighters to follow the order. In addition, I obeyed the order because I took an oath.”
He claimed they attacked Uzodimma’s house to avenge the killing of a top ESN commander, Ikonso.
Three security operatives were killed in a fierce gun battle during their first escapade against a police checkpoint in Orlu.
Once police operatives busted their camp in Orlu, they relocated to Anambra State, where they renewed attacks on police formations.
“Ikonso, Engineer Mike and Temple organised the attack on the Owerri Prison and Imo State Police Command headquarters,” he said.
“We took 50 police rifles. Over 100 fighters went to the operation, but soldiers attacked us on our way back, and many of our fighters were killed.
A few other attacks were carried out on security formations in Imo and Anambra states before Ikonso was killed in his residence. “After he died, we burned down the governor’s house and killed a security guard.”
Benjamin estimates that 30 people have been killed to avenge Ikonso’s death.
“We went in ten vehicles,” he said. For protection against bullets, we wore white and red clothes. The charms were made with the heads of 10 young girls.
Temple and Mike came up with the idea to use the girls as charms, and we abducted them in Imo State.
Unfortunately, a police armoured vehicle attacked us before we reached the Orlu Police Station, killing 12 of our fighters and injuring four others.”