…As Police mount surveillance
By Chinonso Alozie, Owerri
There has been tension in Imo state, following the criminal activities especially, in the Douglas street of Owerri metropolis in Imo state.
Vanguard yesterday in Owerri, monitored the trend of things and was told that it all started last weekend and that commuters, as well as residents in this area, have expressed fears over the recent development.
They have been noticed to be operating freely within the Ekeukwu market along the Douglas road and sometimes take their operation boldly to Mbaise road.
An investigation by Vanguard revealed that the criminal gang operates mostly as from 06:45 pm, and their targets are usually young ladies.
Their mode of operation was to first create an atmosphere of insecurity, by way of raising a false alarm or shooting in the air for everybody to scamper for safety, before they swoop on their target.
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Residents said that criminal gangs struggle to collect phones, laptops, and money.
One of such victims who is a female out of fear pleaded that her name should not be mentioned told Vanguard, that ” I was just coming back from the market when a young man called me and I did not answer him, and after about 30 minutes, people started running and I joined them.
“I even threw away the items I bought from the market. The things my mother asked me to buy for cooking. You know as we were running somebody from the back dragged my handbag and I want to turn he said he will shoot me and he was bringing out something and left the bag for him and continued running.”
Some traders were also seen in their groups discussing the development they said in many cases they have lost their wares including cash while running for their life.
They also said that due to the tensed atmosphere, they were always at alert in case of an unexpected attack from the criminals.
However, the Imo state police command has mounted surveillance in and around the state capital and called on the members of the public to corporate with the command in giving out information that will help the police tackle the issue of armed robbery and kidnapping.
The police, through the State Public Relation Officer, PPRO, Orlando Ikeokwu, said sharing of information would definitely lead to the arrest of the hoodlums.
According to the release, “The attention of the Imo State Police Command has been drawn to a kidnapping/armed robbery syndicate which uses a minibus (BUSIMO) and another syndicate which uses Lexus SUV (jeep) or Sienna vehicle, believed to operate from neighboring Rivers state, but comes into Imo state, operate and go with their victim to unknown destination. Intelligence report available to the command indicates that they operate in Police/Military uniforms.
“In view of this, the command wishes to inform the members of the public to be wary of the said criminals and report any suspecting vehicle or occupants of such description to the police or any other security agencies if seen.
“The command is, however, collaborating with all other security agencies in the state to arrest the said hoodlums, as such request for genuine partnership with members of the public especially as regards information sharing which may lead to the arrest of the aforementioned syndicate. Information can be sent through the Police Control Room with GSM No: 08034773600 or any nearest police station.
“The command and other security agencies in the state wish to reiterate their resolve in ridding Imo state of crime and criminality, especially within this ember months and also enjoin members of the public to go about their lawful businesses without fear of molestation.”