By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—One of the suspects in the New Year killing of worshippers at Omoku, Rivers State, disclosed, yesterday, that they carried out the killings to avenge the arrest and humiliation of the mother of their leader, Don Waney, coupled with the destruction of Waney’s mansion.
The suspect, Desmond Okotubo, a 32-year-old father of three and a native of Egbenma in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni (ONELGA) Local Government Area of Rivers State, who made the disclosure at the Police Force Headquarters, Abuja, said Omoku vigilante group members were their original targets and not church worshipers.
He added that they decided to vent their anger on the worshipers when they could not track down the vigilante group members, who, he said, were instrumental to the arrest of Don Waney’s mother and tracing of his mansion for destruction by the government.
Desmond Okotubo, who disclosed that their plan to invade Omoku was hatched in Awara town, Imo State, confessed his membership of the gang that killed the worshippers, but denied participating in the killings, saying he merely accompanied the gang to the scene without handling a gun.
He begged the Police to allow him help in fishing out all the members of the dreaded gang, who he said were up to 20.
His words: “I followed them during the killing. When Don Waney got back, he stopped at Awara, Imo State, and it was there everybody assembled before going to Omoku. I followed them to Omoku, but they did not give me a gun.
“It was Don Waney that did it. He has the “Red Squad” that do the killings. The squad’s members are from Imo and Rivers states. I know those that shot and killed those people. I know many people that belong to the gang.”
On why they carried out the act on innocent worshipers, Okotubo said: “Don Waney had a problem with the vigilante group because they arrested his mother and also destroyed his house. That is why he came back to revenge and kill those people at Omoku.”
How we got him—Police
Parading the suspect before newsmen, Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Jimoh Moshood, said Okotubo was arrested at Mpape, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, by the IGP-Intelligence Response Team, where he had escaped to on January 3, after the New Year massacre.
Moshood said: “The Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris, set-up special Police joint investigation team, comprising the IGP-Intelligence Response Team, the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department, Force Department of Operations and the Rivers State Police Command to immediately unravel those behind the killings and bring them to justice.
“The IGP-Intelligence Response Team attached to the Joint Police Special Investigation Team engaged some of the suspects in their hideouts in Awara Forest, a boundary between Imo and Rivers states.
“The shootout, which lasted several hours, resulted in the death of six of the suspects, while others escaped with gunshot injuries to other locations in Rivers, Delta, Imo and Bayelsa states. The Police teams are currently on their trail.
“The IGP-Intelligence Response Team further identified Desmond Okotubo, who escaped on January 3 to Abuja. He was trailed to Mpape in Abuja, where he was arrested after serious resistance on January 9.
“He revealed to the Police how their gang leader, Don Waney, gathered them and briefed them on the night of January 31, 2017 on the mission to attack and kill the residents of Omoku town.
“Thirty of them, armed with over 20 AK-47 rifles, crossed the river from Awara to Omoku Forest and proceeded to Omoku town.”