…We discovered 3 training camps in Ibusa, Okpanam, Illah communities – Hafiz Inuwa, Compol, Delta
File Photo: Some members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, making a brisk appearance along some streets in Onitsha, Anambra State.
By Emma Amaize and Festus Ahon – Asaba
Commissioner of Police, Delta State Command, Hafix Inuwa, fingered the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB, for snatching and robbing guns from police officers in the state, since 2018, saying the command apprehended 10 members with 13 AK-47 rifles snatched and robbed on different occasions.
Besides, police also said it discovered three undercover training grounds operated by the group at Ibusa, Okpanam, and Illah communities in the state.
Inuwa, who paraded 182 suspects, including 22 suspected kidnappers, alleged 66 cultists and 53 armed robbers nabbed in the past three months, told journalists at a press briefing in Asaba, the state capital, that the command would continue to provide residents of the state with adequate security, protect lives and property.
Police also arrested 12 Oodua People’s Congress, OPC members from Ondo state with arms and ammunition, accusing of coming to Delta to commit the crime, but the members, many of who wore black vests, claiming they were bonafide OPC members attached to the Deputy Governor’s Office, Ondo state, denied the charge.
Among the IPoB members in custody was the state coordinator, John Chukwuka, who told Vanguard: “I never snatched rifles from the police, but as the coordinator, I saw the rifles when I visited our camps, but I did not know how the rifles came there.”
According to Commissioner Inuwa: “Following recent series of attack on policemen at nipping points and snatching of police rifles by suspected members of outlawed IPoB in Asaba, the command’s sustained efforts in the investigation of the attacks and snatching of police rifles and ammunition in the state yielded desired results when some principal suspects with a strong link to the proscribed IPoB were arrested and made confessional statements.”
Top on the list of arrested persons was Ejiofor 45, a native of Anam in Anambra state, Sunday, 37, Chukwudi, 28 and Onyeka, 29, all from Ebonyi state, 33-year-old Ashaka and Christian, 44, from Delta state, Chima, 26 and Okpara, 37, from Imo state, Maxwell, 36, a native of Abia state and Chibuike, 28, a native of Agulere in Anambra state, all residents of Asaba.
Inuwa revealed: “After a diligent and painstaking investigation, on April 5 at about 2015 hours, while acting on the confession of the arrested key principal suspects, police detectives recovered the following arms and ammunition snatched from policemen from Ugwunwosu Camp of the proscribed IPoB- 10 AK-47 rifles with breech numbers 109003, 533353, 59280, 26240, 06515, 4837, 6466, 2581, 340967, 10 magazines with 200 rounds of AK-47 ammunition.”
“Also on April 24 at about 1230 hours, one of the suspects, Christian led police operatives to the proscribed IPoB training camp at Ibusa, where one AK-47 rifle with breech number BA 354592, with its magazine and 26 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition robbed from Safer Highway Patrol team, along Ogwashi-Uku-Kwale road, by Obasanjo Farms on January 23, 2020, was recovered from where buried in the camp.
“Similarly, on April 29, at about 2340 hours, two of the suspects led the operatives to Idumogi forest in Okpanam where the following robbed police arms were recovered from where buried, two AK-47 rifles with breech Nos. 60037 and 3891, one smoke gunner with breech number 2849197, one smoke canister, four AK-47 magazines, 212 (7.62 mm) AK-47 ammunition, one MP3, a set of Allen keys and one handbag.
“Meanwhile, a total of 13 police AK-47 rifles with ammunition robbed during attacks on policemen in the state, over the years, have been recovered. The investigation is still in progress,” he said.
Inuwa disclosed that luck ran out of five of the kidnappers, including a hotel manager, after they collected an undisclosed ransom to release Mrs Victoria Ogharaon abducted, February 22, when operatives of Special Anti-Kidnapping and Cyber Crime Squad, SAKCCS, investigating the incident, tracked them down at Oghara, Ethiope West local government area of the state.
“The arrested suspects confessed belonging to the same kidnap gang and their individual roles in the kidnap incident. It was also discovered that the suspects were preparing to carry out another kidnap operation before their arrest.
“One locally made shotgun with four live cartridges, two face masks, ropes, and cello tape were recovered from the suspects. They would be charged to court at the conclusion of the investigation,” he said.
The commissioner also stated: “Acting on information on suspected kidnappers on the command’s wanted list at Cattle market, Oghara, on February 29 at about 13 hours, a team of SAKCCS operatives trailed and arrested one Abdullahi, 20 years from Benin Republic and Abu, Bello, 19 years, a native of Lafia-Igum, Nasarawa state, both residents of Oghara.”
“The suspects have been on the command’s wanted list for series of kidnap incidents, along Benin-Oghara road, Benin-Kogi-Abuja expressway. Suspects have been transferred to Kogi State Command, Lokoja, for further investigation,” he added
Also in police net were two suspected child traffickers, Tolulope and Abiola intercepted while on transit in a commercial bus along Asaba-Benin expressway in Okpanam area.
Inuwa asserted: “They were suspected to have sold a newly born male child delivered by one of them to a trafficker in Onitsha and were heading back to their base in Akure when they were arrested by the police acting on the information.”
“In the course of the investigation and following the confession of Tolulope, that she tricked pregnant Abiola from Akure to Onitsha where she successfully gave birth to a baby boy, but she later took the baby from her and sold him to one Mrs. Nkaneme in Onitsha, while she lied to the mother that the baby died some hours after delivery.
“The buyer, Mrs. Nkaneme also alter sold the child to another buyer, one Mrs. Ekunno. Meanwhile, the two buyers have been arrested with one Josephine and the stolen child was recovered. Their arrest led to the discovery of another two-week-old male child also suspected to have been stolen from Mrs. Ekunno. The case is still under investigation,” he asserted.
Vanguard News Nigeria.