Umuahia—AS LIFE returns to normal in Aba, the commercial capital of Abia State, the military joint task force which had launched war against criminal elements in the state, especially kidnappers who held the city hostage for a long time, paralyzing all commercial and social activities, is moving deep into the kidnapping-infested areas of Obingwa, Osisisioma and Ukwa West.
The task force is also said to have intensified its man-hunt for the leader of Abia kidnappers, Obioma Nwankwo, a.k.a Osisikankwu.
The task force, it was learnt, has extended its tentacles to every nooks and crannies of the country to ensure that the suspect who had been declared wanted by the police was arrested.
Commercial and social activities which disappeared from Aba for sometime, have resumed and are peaking as those who fled the city are daily returning in droves.
No less than 100 suspects have so far been arrested by the military task force, including the priest of a Roman Catholic Church at Mgboko, whose church shared common fence with a notorious kidnappers’ camp.
It was also learnt that a car in his house was alleged to have been searched and five cases of used ammunition found in it.
Meanwhile, the police had earlier arrested the chairman of Ukwa West Council, Mr. Nwokemgbede, for allegedly aiding criminals.
His arrest came less than one month after he was sworn in as the council boss, and was alleged to have had very deep romance with kidnappers, who were rumoured to be his personal security operatives.
Sources from the military task force said that “from October 1 to date, we have arrested about 100 suspected kidnappers and armed robbers in the operation during which we raided several camps and hideouts in the bush which served as bases for criminals in Abia.
“Investigations have shown that some of the suspects are directly involved in kidnapping, while others aided and abetted the crime”.
According to the task force, “we are saying that because of the proximity of his (the priest) residence to the camp, he must have known or seen the kidnappers. Why did he not report them or why was he not kidnapped or molested by them?” It alleged that the priest, rather reported the matter, was providing the criminals with water.
Reports said the Catholic Diocese of Aba has confirmed the arrest of the priest at Mgboko. The Diocese’s spokesman, Reverend Father Kelechi Anyanwu, was said to have confirmed the arrest.By Anayo Okoli