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Shooting of DPO: Police arrest 12 suspects, including four Catholic priests

By Chidi Nkwopara

Owerri—Imo State Police Command has arrested 12 persons, including four Catholic priests, for their alleged involvement in the shooting of the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, in charge of Ahiazu Mbaise Police Division, Mr. Danjuma Ragga.

Confirming the near ugly incident to Vanguard, yesterday, the Commissioner of Police, CP, Mr. Taiwo Lakanu, said that the DPO, was shot when he led a team of his men to advise the youths, led by Rev. Fr. John Ogoekwe of Christ the King Catholic Parish, Uvuru, Aboh Mbaise, on the need to embrace peace.

 The cp’s story

“The Catholic Diocese of Ahiara has been engulfed in crisis in the past, over the appointment and enthronement of a bishop. The crisis necessitated the appointment of a Vicar General, Rev. Fr. Clement Ebii, who has been carrying out the functions of the bishop.

“On Saturday, July 2, 2016, the priest hosted the National President of the Catholic Women Organization, CWO, in St. Roses Catholic Church, Ezinihitte Mbaise. However, youths who congregated at the Catholic Cathedral, Nnarambia, Ahiazu Mbaise, insisted on processing to the Ezinihitte Parish, to stop the hosting of the CWO National President.

“The youths set up bonfires, barricaded the highway and disrupted the peace of the town. The DPO, Ahiazu Mbaise Police Division, Danjuma Ragga, a superintendent of police, led a team of policemen from his Division, to advise the youths to sheath their swords and embrace peace, since the matter is being looked into by the Catholic hierarchy.

“The youths, led by Rev. Fr. John Ogoekwe of CKC Uvuru, Aboh Mbaise, defied the appeal of the DPO and started hauling missiles at the police. They even threatened to burn the police patrol vehicle and disarm the police officers involved in the legitimate operation.

“The youths later fired gunshots from inside the Catholic Cathedral, which hit the DPO on both legs and hands. He is currently receiving treatment.

“Further attempts made to restore peace and order, as well as arrest the culprits, were rebuffed by the youths, who continued to fire at the police. “Our men exhibited a very high sense of professionalism and did not return the fire, despite the provocation.  “However, 12 suspects, including four Reverend Fathers, were eventually arrested and are being interrogated.

“The Command will not tolerate a situation where youths or group of persons, will resort to violence to settle differences. All those involved in the shooting of the DPO will be fished out and prosecuted. The Catholic Cathedral will remain shut to avoid further violence”.

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