The alleged commander identified as Ikonso, The Nation gathered, was coordinator of the daredevil attacks on Imo State Police Command as well as the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) facility in Owerri that led to the escape of over 1,800 inmates.
Operatives comprising the police, Department of State Services (DSS) and soldiers of the Nigerian Army were said to have stormed Ikonso’s Umuokwe country home late on Friday and engaged suspected IPOB members till early Saturday when they took over the premises.
It was gathered this major breakthrough came after weeks of investigation and trailing of the alleged Commander said to be a native of Awo-Omamma, a community located about 20 minutes from Owerri.
The deceased commander, it was learnt, was the anchor man for all foreign donations to IPOB and the one who usually disbursed same to other sub units.
It was gathered the man was propelled to carry out the attacks following promises of a vice presidential slot should their demands for Biafra Republic be achieved.
Sources privy to the operation told The Nation that Special Forces stormed the suspect’s mansion in the community but were attacked by armed militias on guard duty.
He said three policemen and a soldier were seriously wounded during the operation which lasted several hours.
“But the courageous policemen stood their grounds and exchanged fire for fire. The armed militias were many and wore their “bullet proof” that makes security operatives think they are impenetrable.
“Despite that, our men took down seven of them including the commander who happens to be the owner of the house. He owns a big compound there and uses part as his residence while the other part is for IPOB operations.
“Three of our men and a soldier were seriously injured. They were evacuated from the scene. The operation lasted several hours. When they saw that the policemen were not retreating, the others escaped through the back,” said the source.
It was gathered troops did not retreat as they went into the property, searched through and discovered several weapons and charms which were recovered.
“We recovered so many weapons and charms. We did not lose any of our rifles in the operation. We also evacuated those 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,” he said.