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Former Nigerian soldier who trains ESN militants arrested in Abuja

Former Nigerian soldier who trains ESN militants arrested in Abuja
According to sources, the 32 years old dismissed soldier, whose name was given as Livinus Owalum-Barnabas, was arrested on Sunday, at Gwagwalada Area Council of the FCT by men of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT).

The police have arrested a dismissed army lance corporal allegedly responsible for training and recruiting people into the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the militant arm of the outlawed pro-Biafra group, IPOB, according to a report.

He was arrested a few days after a top commander of the terror group, Awurum Eze, was arrested in Aba, Abia State.

The group is alleged to have been responsible for killings of security agents and destruction of public properties in the South-east and South-south zones. They have, however, denied the allegations.

According to sources, the 32 years old dismissed soldier, whose name was given as Livinus Owalum-Barnabas, was arrested on Sunday, at Gwagwalada Area Council of the FCT by men of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT).

The ex-soldier was said to have been recruited by some members of IPOB in Abuja and sent to train newly recruited IPOB/ESN in two of their training Camps in Abia and Delta States.

Upon his arrest, the suspect confessed to having been employed by the IPOB who promised to pay him double of what he was receiving in the army.

He also confessed to have trained at least 2,000 members of the ESN on combat operations, ambush and use of firearms, in the two camps between September to December last year.

The suspect told security operatives he was engaged by one ‘Mr Ebere’ who paid him N100,000 before he proceeded to Abia State.

He said Mr Ebere was later arrested alongside 14 other suspected members of the group who were using a Church premises for their meetings where they raised money to be sent to the South-east for buying of ammunition.

Items recovered from the ex-soldier were receipts, list of contributors, list of members and oaths of allegiance to Biafra and Nnamdi Kanu.

A few months ago, security operatives in the two regions have been targeted and attacked.

The killings were reported to have been carried out by ‘unknown gunmen’. They began to kill police officers and destroy their facilities about two months ago, and have since continued unabated.

The attacks in the two regions are separate from the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east.

Also, as part of the general insecurity across the country, several states in Nigeria have been struggling with kidnapping for ransom, banditry, frequent clashes between farmers and herders, and inter-communal conflicts.

Due to the regular attacks on security outfits in the South-east, the governors and heads of security agencies in the five states in the region held a summit on security where they agreed to establish a joint security outfit to check the insecurity in the region.

IPOB, an outlawed secessionist group, and its security network, ESN, has been accused of being responsible for some of the attacks against the police in the South-east, but the group has denied any involvement in the attacks.

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