By Ifeanyi Okolie
Residents of Rumuodogbo community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State can now sleep with their eyes closed, as operatives of the Force Intelligence Response Team, IRT, have arrested three members of a notorious kidnap gang terrorizing the community and Port Harcourt city.
Vanguard gathered that the suspects, Uzoma Amandi, Uburize Omesi and Onyekachi Amadi, who were also identified as members of the notorious Icelander cult group, terrorizing residents of Rivers state and its environ in recent time, were arrested after they killed and beheaded five members of a local vigilante outfit, known as OSPAC and displayed their corpses on the social media.
It was gathered that members of the gang who operated with two pump action guns and an AK-47 rifle loaded with four magazines and 120 rounds of live ammunition, usually kidnapped their victims from Port Harcourt city and took them to their camps in Chuba area of the state, where they would be kept for days before ransoms were paid for their release.
Police sources disclosed that the Inspector General of Police was alerted in October 2020 about the gang’s activities after five members of OSPAC vigilante outfit were killed and beheaded,when they confronted members of the gang at Rumuodogbo community. A source explained that operatives of the IRT, headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, was deployed to investigate and track down members of the gang.
Vanguard gathered that when the IRT operatives commenced their investigations, it was discovered that members of the kidnap gang terrorizing the Rumuodgbo community, were natives of the community and had their base in Aba town in Abia State, but they regularly visited Port Harcourt and Rumuodgbo community, where they carried out their kidnapping and cult related activities.
A source said; “when we commenced our investigations, we discovered that these kidnappers didn’t reside in Rivers state. Though they are natives of Rumuodgbo community but they were based in Aba town and they came into Rivers state to carry out their kidnapping.
“They had their camp, where they kept their victims in Chuba area and they would drive into Port Harcourt city to kidnap their victims.
“Their targets were mainly people driving flashy cars around highbrow neighborhoods within Port Harcourt city and they usually abandoned victims’ cars after kidnapping thyem.
“They knew when security check point along the road was relaxed and they would transport them swiftly into their camp in a forest in Chuba area of Rivers state.
“We discovered from their victims we interviewed that the gang did not like wasting time with their victims. When they kidnapped a person, they usually would not demand huge amount as ransom and they would accept whatever was paid to them, released their victim and moved on to kidnap another person and by the end of the week they would return to Abia state where they all lived with their families as supposed responsible men.
“The killing and beheading of the OSPAC vigilante men was what gave them up and it enabled us in generating enough intelligence that led to the arrest of three members of the gang”, the source stated.
21-year-old Onyebuchi Amadi said, “I am from Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers state, I am a tricycle operator and I am married with a child. I am a member of Icelander confraternity and it was one of my friends known as Biggie that forced me into joining the cult group.
“We killed the OSPAC Vigilante men because they killed some people in our community. We also beheaded them and took their heads round our community because we wanted it to serve as deterrence to others as we threatened to kill more vigilante men if they didn’t leave our community.
“After I joined the cult group, we ventured into kidnapping and I took part in seven operations. Biggie was our gang leader and he was the person that led the kidnap operation where we kidnapped a woman from Port Harcourt in July 2020 and we kept her at Choba for three days.
“We didn’t sleep with the woman. Biggie was the person who negotiated the ransom and I don’t know how much was paid. He gave me N90,000.
“On the second operation, we kidnapped a man from Port Harcourt as well and kept him at Chuba and without wasting time ransom was paid and he was released and I got N150,000 for the operation. On the third and fourth operations, we kidnapped two men separately from Port Harcourt and took them to our camp.
“They didn’t waste time with us before their ransom was paid and I got N90,000 and N110,000 as my share respectively while on the fifth operation four of us went for the operation where we kidnapped a man around Chuba area and took him into our camp.
“One of our gang members known as Augustine negotiated the ransom and we collected N300,000 from the victim as ransom while I got N80,000 as my share.
“We then went to Rumumaci area and kidnapped another man, we kept him at Chuba and I got N50,000 from his ransom. I also kidnapped a man at Iliozo area and I got N80,000 from it.
“My last operation was the kidnap of an Indian national and it was Augustine that brought the job. We kidnapped the man at Rumuola and kept him at Chuba.
“The man spent four days with us and N2million was paid as ransom and I got N200,000 as my share. I relocated to Aba town because I didn’t want the police to arrest me in Rivers state because of my atrocities but the police traced me down to Aba where I was eventually arrested”.
In his own confession, Uburize Omesi, 28, also a native of Rumodogbo in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers state, stated that he joined the kidnap gang because of the hardship brought about by the Covid 19 lockdown.
He said; “I am married with two children, I had no education and I am a tricycle rider. I was arrested because I took part in kidnapping.
“It was one Oneyebuchi that invited me to be part of the kidnap gang and I joined because things were very hard for me as I could no longer fend for my family.
“I wasn’t part of the team that went out to kidnap the victim, but I was one of those watching over the victim at the camp. I spent one week with the victim in the camp and was guarding him with one AK-47 rifle with three magazines loaded with 90 rounds of live ammunition.
“But I left the camp after one week because Onyebuchi who was our boss refused to provide food for us. I don’t know how the victim was released but Onyebuchi later gave me N30,000.”