By Peter Okutu
ABAKALIKI— SIX persons suspected to be kidnappers were, weekend, paraded by the Department of State Services, DSS, Ebonyi State Command.
The suspected kidnappers were those who allegedly abducted and killed former Coordinator of Okposi Development Centre in Ohaozara Local Government Area, Mr. Ihebunandu Okorie, in March.
The state Director of DSS, Mr. L. B. Baba, while parading the suspects at the headquarters of the DSS, said they abducted the council boss on March 16, 2014 at the Presbyterian Church, Okposi in Ohaozara Local Government Area and later killed him at Nguzu Edda forest.
He gave the names of the suspects as Ebere, 32; Odichimma, 30; Chukwudi, 32; Amos, 23; Peter, 30 and Adamu, saying some of the suspects also engaged in drug peddling, taking cocaine from Brazil to some other West African countries.
Items recovered from the gang include three AK-47 rifles, 16 magazines, Honda IV Tech car with number plate, LAGOS FST 254 AE and ash colour Toyota Picnic with number plate LAGOS JJJ 777 PU used by the gang as mobile armoury.
Baba said one of the suspects, Ebere, a notorious cocaine dealer from Edda in Ebonyi State, was arrested in Abia State when he wanted to collect the ransom, adding that he owned two AK-47 rifles, while Odichimma from Abia State was arrested in Asaba, Delta State in April and owned one AK-47 rifle.
The director also stated that Chukwudi from Umuozo in Abia State was arrested in April in a Lgos hotel where he fled to after the kidnap of late Okorie while Amos, who is from Ebonyi, the same town with the deceased, brought the business and involved other suspects. He was arrested in Ajegunle, also in Lagos.
He further stated that Peter, from Enugu Ukwu in Anambra State, a panel beater who constructed the compartment under the Toyota Picnic van used by the gang for movement of arms and ammunition, bulk cash and cocaine was arrested in August while Adamu from Kogi State contacted one of the suspects demanding an AK-47 rifle to rob a company in PortHacourt.
The DSS boss further stated that the suspects had also featured in other kidnap and robbery operations including the kidnap of one Obaleye in Ilesa, Osun State in December 2013 where ransom of N28.6 million was paid before the release of the victim while they robbed a bank in February 2014 where they stole over N5 million.