Imo Police arrest 56 kidnap suspects, rescue 15 victims


By Aluta News

July 13, 2023

The Imo Police Command said it arrested 56 suspects for various criminal offences, including armed robbery, kidnapping, child trafficking, cultism, murder and terrorism between January and June.

The Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Barde, said this at the command’s headquarters in Owerri, while briefing newsmen on the recent exploits by the command in its efforts to rid the state of criminals.

Barde, represented by the command’s Public Relations Officer, ASP Henry Okoye, said 15 kidnap victims were rescued during the period.

He said that 26 alleged sit-at-home enforcers, suspected to be members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra and its armed affiliate, were arrested on July 9 after a gun duel at a hotel in Owerri.

He said the command’s tactical team and mobile operatives of 18PMF swiftly mobilised to the hotel, where the suspects were disrupting a birthday party.

“Unfortunately, a lifeless body, later identified as Remigius Emeka Njoku, the celebrant’s relative, was seen lying in his pool of blood on the floor,” he said.

According to Barde, some of the suspects escaped with bullet wounds, while others were dislodged.

He said one AK47 riffle, 48 rounds of live ammunition, four pump action guns, 18 rounds of live cartridges, two AK47 magazines and a face mask were recovered from them.

“On Jan. 6, at about 1800hrs, four unsuspecting victims were kidnapped at different locations within Imo.

“Three vehicles, including a Lexus RX 350 SUV Jeep, Lexus RX 330 SUV Jeep, and a Mercedes Benz GLK, belonging to the victims were equally snatched from them.

“The victims were held hostage at an unknown destination,” he said.

He said that investigation and data-tracking analysis led to the arrest of Uche Eke at Douglass Market, where he wanted to sell some of the phones he robbed from his victims.

“His arrest led to the rescue of the victim unhurt and the further arrest of one John Nnaemeka, also known as “White”.

“These suspects were identified as part of the escapees during the jail break of the Correctional Service Custodial Centre, Owerri, an unfortunate incident that took place on April 5, 2021.

“All the suspects confessed to the crime of kidnapping and armed robbery.

“On searching their criminal hideout, two pump action guns with 10 rounds of live ammunition and the three snatched vehicles were recovered,” Barde said.

He also said that one Obinna Ugochukwu, 22, was arrested for allegedly stabbing his friend, Stanley Nwachukwu, to death with a knife repeatedly on the upper part of his body, while asleep.

He said that the incident followed a misunderstanding over the sharing of alleged 3000 US Dollars fraudulently gained from a Cyber-crime deal.

The commissioner said that one Sixtus Ezebudo, 29, was arrested for murder and harvesting of organ after luring his victim to an uncompleted building in Orlu Local Government Area (LGA).

“On interrogation, the suspect confessed that on May 10, at about 1630hrs, he lured and killed his victim, and thereafter harvested his vital body organs, like his lungs, heart and private part and abandoned his corpse at the scene.

“He was later arrested in Lagos State with the harvested body parts, where he had escaped to sell them for ritual purpose,” he said.

He said that Nnanna Ugorji, 20, and Chiaka Anah, 53, were arrested on the allegation of defiling a 10-year-old girl on June 15.

Barde said two females: Eke Chinyere, 48, and Glory Okon, who specialised in stealing children and selling them to potential buyers for child labour or ritual purposes were also arrested.

“On interrogation, the suspects, who confessed to being members of a criminal syndicate, led the curious operatives to the baby factory, where seven stolen children and four pregnant teenage girls were rescued.

“Some of the children have been reunited with their parents, while other victims are currently in a Government approved home for care and custody,” he said.

He said Kobi Chimezie, 29; Chima Okpara, 29; and Emenike Aririguzo, 28, were arrested for alleged house-to-house robbery, stealing and vandalising electrical cable wires within the Ogbaku Community.

“They were subsequently arrested with a bunch of cable wires at Ogbaku in Mbaitoli LGA.

“On interrogation, the suspects confessed to the crime and stated that they vandalised the electrical cable wires from a site at Mbieri in the same Mbaitoli LGA,” he said.

He also said, “On April 13, at about 1930hrs, one Ikechukwu Ebelebe of Owerre-Akokwa in Ideato North LGA was kidnapped and robbed of his Toyota RAV4 SUV Jeep in-front of his residence by some kidnappers.

“The kidnappers collected a ransom of N10 million from the victim’s bank account, thereafter, killed him and dumped his corpse at Ajali river bank in Anambra.

“Through credible intelligence gathering, one Chinedu Christian Ejezie, aka “Holy Condom”, and Okechukwu Ibemere, both from Imo were arrested at Ebute Ero Market in Idumota LGA of Lagos State.

“Both suspects confessed to the crime, which led to the subsequent arrest of their gang member, Emmanuel Ubah,” he said.

Barde also said that one Victor Benneth, 29, and Yusuf Kiyasu, 29, were arrested on June 14, for alleged armed robbery and kidnapping.

He said that items recovered from the suspects included four locally-made short guns, 16 rounds of live cartridges, one expended cartridge and a Toyota Camry, with Reg. No. Lagos: APP 598 ITU.

He further said that the command arrested two persons, Precious Otunne and Samuel Hyginus, on June 22, allegedly on their way to perform cultism initiation of new members at Umuerim Nekede, near Owerri.

He said two locally-made double barrel pistols, with five rounds of live cartridges, were allegedly recovered from them.

The commissioner said 32 assault riffles, made up of two AK47 rifles, 15 pump action guns, two cut-to-size locally-made guns, 11 locally-made pistols and two double barrel guns, were recovered from the suspects.

Also recovered included 100 rounds of live cartridges, 70 rounds of AK47 ammunition, five snatched vehicles and seven motorcycles.

He said all the suspects would be arraigned upon the conclusion of a diligent investigation.

Meanwhile, the state police boss has charged the public to disregard the “unlawfully imposed sit-at-home order by a criminal syndicate, which stock in trade is to create panic.

“Report any criminally minded elements seen enforcing the unlawful sit-at-home order or other nefarious activities to the nearest police station or via our emergency numbers 08098880197, 0803477360,” he said.