By Ifeanyi Okolie
How they were arrested
Sources disclosed that the arrest of the suspects came, following several complaints from residents of the Garden City to the Inspector General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, over incessant cases of kidnappings within the City.
The IGP was said to have deployed his operatives at the Special Intelligence Response Team, IRT, led by CSP Abba Kyari to the streets of PortHarcourt to bring activities of ?the gang to an end.
They were said to have accosted the gang after it has successfully kidnapped a middle-aged woman penunitmate Tuesday and was heading for their den. The operatives engaged the gang and forced them into abandoning their victim and to flee the scene.
Sources said the rescued woman ?gave the operatives a vivid description of the vehicle used by the gang and the IRT operatives went all out in search of the vehicle. The driver and the vehicle were later apprehended. Daniel Gabriel, the driver led the operatives to his house in Navy Market in Borokiri, where five other members of his gang were meeting to organize another kidnapping operation. Their arrest also led to the arrest of three other members of the gang including the gang’s armourer Marshal.
Confessions of the suspects
When Crime Guard interviewed, Daniel Grabrel a native of Idiangba in Ikote-Ekpene Local Government Area of Akwa-Ibom State, he said; ” I am 33-year-old and I am married with two children. I came to Port-Harcourt in 2005 and I am taxi driver but when things became difficult for me, I moved my family back to my home and in that process, I joined my first kidnapping gang.
I met my gang members in March 2016, I was plying the Aba Road looking for passengers when they stopped me and entered into my taxi. They asked me to take them to Borikiri area of Port-Harcourt Town and when we arrived, they paid me more than I demanded and I told them that I wanted to know more about them. The leader who sat with me in front, gave me his phone number and said he would like me to work with them.
Few days later, they invited me to a hotel in Borikiri and then they opened up to me on what they were into. By April, Blackiee, the gang leader, called and asked that I should meet him at his hotel and when I got there, I met him and his boys and they were all prepared for an operation. They brought out two bags containing rifles and they dumped in my car and we moved into GRA in Portharcourt.
On arriving the spot, we got a call from our informant that we had missed our target as she left the scene before we arrived. But on our way out we spotted a man driving a posh car and we kidnapped him and took him to Indoki Estate Waterfront, from where he was moved via a speed boat to our camp which was across the river.
We did several kidnappings after I joined the gang but in August 2015, the second in command to the gang called me and said that, our informant had a job for us and we went for it and we kidnapped the woman, but on our way, my car developed a fault and it stopped. Blackiee called another taxi and they transferred the woman into it, but on the waterside, police intercepted them and the woman was rescued, but they all escaped.
The gang leader Blackiee escaped with one other rifle and gave it to one of our boys who normally keeps our rifles, but after I was arrested, I took the police to the boy and they recovered the rifle and my cab.”
Another suspect Efiye Anda, a native of Southern Ijaw area of Bayelsa State, said he got two N200, 000 ferrying the kidnappers and their victims to their camps which was across the river in his speed boat.
He said; “I was formerly into oil bunkering but the camp where we scooped our oil has been destroyed by the military and when I had nothing doing, my friends invited me to Port Harcourt to do kidnapping jobs.
After taking them to their camps each time they kidnapped somebody, they normally call me to help buy food for them and their victims. I have been paid N200, 000 since I started and I bought a speed boat with the money.”
The 32-year-old, Marshal, who is the gang’s armorer and native of Opop-Ngoro Local Government Area of Rivers State, confessed that the gang paid him only N40,000 to keep their rifles for him.