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Cache of arms admitted as exhibits against 57 ex-militants

BY  George Onah
Port Harcourt— A large cache of arms, including four anti-aircraft guns and rocket propelled grenades belonging to 57 suspected militants, has been admitted as exhibit by a Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt.

Also, as part of the security measures in the state, Governor Chibuike  Amaechi said the government has placed surveillance cameras at strategic locations and planned to purchase two helicopters that would be deployed for surveillance operations in the state.

The suspects who were picked up in various creeks by the Joint Military Task Force in November last year, were said to have embraced amnesty when it was declared by the Federal Government, but returned to bear arms and were involved in sundry criminal activities.

Other weapons admitted by Justice Boma Diepiri, included 45 AK-47 rifles, 12 general purpose machine guns,  GPMG, berretta rifles, 7009 live ammunition, containers of 6.6mm, 116 magazines, camouflage bullet proof jackets, 181 MEND gloves  and jungle boots.

The prosecution alleged that the items were recovered by the JTF when one of the suspects volunteered information to the JTF and disclosed the location of their armoury in the creeks.

Under cross-examination, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Femi Ogunbayode, denied the suggestion by one of the defence counsel that the items were relics and could not have been found in the possession of the suspects and did not belong to them.

Before adjourning the matter, Justice Diepiri enjoined all the defence counsel  to harmonise their defence and arguments,  so as to reduce time and urged the security agents and state counsel to review their logistics in order to quicken proceedings at the next hearing date.


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