Operatives of the Anti-Kidnapping Unit and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Imo State Police Command have arrested a community leader in Obor, Awarra, Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State, Andrew Okuegbunuwa, and one Pastor Caleb Agu, for alleged kidnapping.
The state Commissioner of Police, Isaac Akinmoyede, who paraded the community leader and eight suspected members of his gang at the command headquarters in Owerri, alleged that they were responsible for the killing of two personnel of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in the state a few months ago.
The CP said while Okuegbunuwa allegedly provided the gang’s operational vehicle, the cleric was the leader of the syndicate.
Akinmoyede said the cops recovered N4.2m as part of the ransom the suspects collected from one of their victims.
The CP disclosed that four AK-47 rifles, one rifle belonging to the slain NDLEA officers, 120 rounds of live ammunition, one Lexus SUV and other exhibits were recovered from the suspects.
He said the gang gave Okuegbunuwa N3m from the over N7m they got as ransom in one of their operations.
Akinmoyede said, “On July 28, at Umuokuzu Awarra in Ohaji/Egbema LGA of Imo State, SARS operatives through painstaking and diligent investigation arrested one Andrew Okuegbunuwa, 59, in connection with kidnapping and other armed robbery incidents.
“Investigation further revealed that the suspect provided the operational vehicle, Lexus RX 330 with number plate, URM 404 EL, for the kidnappers.
“Having lost the vehicle in an operation, the community leader was given the sum of N3m to replace his vehicle by the kidnappers. It was further disclosed that the vehicle was not registered, as there is no record of it in the Federal Road Safety Corps database.”
When interviewed, the community leader acknowledged that apart from the N3m the gang gave him, he had been receiving money from them each time they returned from an operation.
He noted that he knew that his vehicles were being used for kidnap operations.
Other suspects are Uzoma Bernard, 65; Fabian Obioha, 60; Ogechi Obioha, 30; Kennedy Okwuonu, 40; Ebenezer Obioha, 38; and Ikechukwu Njoku, 32.