By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRIâ€”Imo StateÂ Police Command has smashed a four-man gang, which specialises in armed robbery and kidnapping, killing one of them in a shoot out and injuring the others.
Addressing newsmen on details of the latest onslaught against crime and criminals in Owerri, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, Mr. A. Gwary, also disclosed that one FMC rifle, one AK 47 rifle, 125 rounds of live ammunition and two vehicles were recovered from the hoodlums.
He gave the names of the hoodlums as Uzoma Ibemere, 22,Â from Umuokpo Agbaja, Nwangele, George Izu, 29, from Umuchoko Ahiazu Mbaise, Paschal Ugwulebo, 32, from Umuopara, Obodo Ujushi, Ahiazu Mbaise and Chukwuka (surname unknown) from Ngwa, who sustained gunshot injury and died on the way to the hospital.
â€œOnÂ 11 April 2010, at Amuzi, Ahiazu Mbaise, this four-man armed robbery gang snatched a Mecedes Benz, model ML320, from Rev. Fr. Franklyn Odoegbulam of Mater Ecclesiae Seminary, Nguru in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area,â€ Gwary said.
The Deputy Commissioner further said that the gang used the Catholic priestâ€™s car to trail one Keneddy Chimezie, from Amaraku, Isiala Mbano Local Government Area to Umudike, in the same council area, where they blocked his Land Rover 4×4 SUV.
â€œThe armed gansters ordered Chimezie out of his vehicle, robbed him of all his valuables, including a cash of N58,000, blindfolded him with the priestâ€™s robes, shot sporadically at the scene, abducted and moved their victim to Ihenworie, Ahiazu Mbaise,â€ the DCP said.
Narrating his ordeal to Vanguard, Rev. Fr. Odoegbulam said the hoodlums pounced on him while he was on his way to celebrate the Sunday Mass, adding that he also warned them about the disastrous consequences of their action if they ever used his car to either rob or kidnap anybody.
â€œI was not shaken at all especially as I have no kidnap value. This is the third time I am falling victim to armed robbers and as God would have it, none of them went unpunished. I warned them to drop the idea of taking my vehicle or proceeding with their nefarious mission but they didnâ€™t listen,â€ the priest said.