The Commissioner of Police in Abia, Mr Leye Oyebade, says the command has arrested three kidnap suspects involved in the gruesome killing of four members of the state vigilance group known as Bakassi in Aba.
The deceased were reportedly attacked by the assailants, who allegedly ambushed them on Aba-Owerri Road around 4 p.m. in February.
The Bakassi men were said to be returning to their office in their operational van when the hoodlums reportedly opened fire on them, killing three of them on the spot, while the fourth person died later in the hospital.
The vigilance group allegedly drew the ire of the hoodlums, after it reportedly foiled their attempt to kidnap a prominent businessman in the city.
Oyebade told newsmen in his office in Umuahia, that two of the suspects — Chimezie Ezeigbo, alias ‘landlord’, and Emeka Ukaegbu, alias ‘smallpin’ — were arrested while guarding a kidnap victim, one Christopher Duru.
Oyebade said Duru, a resident of World Bank Estate, Aba, was kidnapped on March 17 but rescued by operatives from Ndiegoro Divisional Police Station and the Aba Area Police Command.
He said the suspects, which included one Julius Nnachi of Amaetiti Ekoli in Ebonyi, had confessed to the crime.
The police commissioner said his men recovered one Pump Action Rifle, one English-made Pistol, seven live cartridges, one .9 mm live ammunition and five cellphones from the suspects.
The command, he said, also arrested a Lagos-based shoe trader, Godswill Nwokoh, 51, for allegedly defiling a 12-year-old boy in a guest house in Aba.
The boy, a Junior Secondary School 1 student, said that he was lured into the guest house by Nwokoh, who woke him up in the night and allegedly “used” him.
He said that Nwokoh muffled his mouth with his hands and prevented him from screaming during the act.
Nwokoh, however, denied the allegation in an interview with newsmen, saying he only allowed the boy to spend the night in his room, after he allegedly strayed from his parents”’ home in Aba.
Nwokoh, who said he usually came to buy Aba-made shoes and belts, said he was in the room with the boy and his friend as well as his son, who accompanied him on the trip from Lagos.
The police commissioner later gave a breakdown of arrests made by the command in the last eight months.
According to him, 134 persons were arrested for different criminal offences, ranging from armed robbery to kidnapping, car-snatching, rape, murder, pipeline vandalism, cultism and child-trafficking, among others.
Oyebade said the command recovered 32 arms, 188 ammunition, 40 vehicles, 15 motorcycles/tricycles and rescued 15 kidnap victims.
The rescued victims included 90-year-old Pa Jeremaiah Adindu, the father of Mr Godwin Adindu, the former Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu.
He said the suspects would be arraigned at the end of the investigations.
Meanwhile, Oyebade said that the command would soon inaugurate a crack team known as Tactical Response Squad, currently undergoing special training in combating heinous crimes.
He said the squad, to be deployed in Umuahia and Aba, would be unveiled at the end of the training and posted to areas notorious for heinous crimes, such as kidnapping and armed robbery.
The police commissioner said that the governor had promised to support the command with the necessary logistics that would enable it to commence operations with ease.
He appealed to members of the public to assist the police with useful information that would help them to discharge their mandate of protecting lives and property.
Oyebade said the state government had announced a N1 million reward for any informant that assisted the police to arrest notorious criminal suspects in the state.