Police kill wanted Imo kidnappers, recover weapons Police kill wanted Imo kidnappers, recover weapons
  The Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Imo State Police Command has killed three suspected kidnappers in the state.   Operatives of FSARS,... Police kill wanted Imo kidnappers, recover weapons
 
The Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Imo State Police Command has killed three suspected kidnappers in the state.
 
Operatives of FSARS, who engaged the alleged kidnap kingpins in a gun battle in one of their hideouts at Atta, in the Njaba Local Government Area of the state on Saturday, also apprehended three others.
 
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Andrew Enwerem, who addressed journalists when the corpses of the slain suspects were brought to the command headquarters in Owerri, the state capital, said the gang was the most dreaded after the reign of late kingpin, Henry Nwabueze, aka Vampire.
 
Enwerem said the gang used special number plates during operations, adding that two of the six kidnappers were hardened ex-convicts who had served between seven to eight years’ jail terms at the Owerri Federal Prisons for armed robbery.
 
The police spokesperson gave the names of the suspects who were captured alive as Chinwendu Sylvester, 24, from the Mbano LGA; Chidera Nzeagwu, 28, from Ogbaku, in the Mbaitoli LGA; and Chetachi Ogbenna, 36, from Amuzu, in the Obingwa LGA of Abia State.
 
According to Enwerem, the police had been on the trails of the suspects for a long time.
 
He said some of the suspects, who were arrested at different locations, led FSARS operatives to their hideout at Atta.
 
He said, “The command, under the strategic coordination of the Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, has arrested the most wanted kidnap syndicate in the state.
 
“Operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the command, led by the Commander, SP Godfrey Victor, had arrested three of the kidnappers at different locations in the state.
 
“The three suspects led us to one of their hideouts at Atta in Imo State. On sighting our men, the four kidnappers in the hideout opened fire on them.
 
“In the ensuing gun duel, three of them lost their lives, while one, whose identity was given as Ifeanyi, fled.”
 
Exhibits recovered from the gang, according to the police spokesperson, are one Prado Jeep with number plate, PF1843 SPY, a Volkswagen Jetta, three expended cartridges, two AK-47 rifles, 20 live cartridges, one pump-action gun, a bottle filled with charms and the sum of N390,000.
 
One of the suspects, Nzeagwu, an ex-convict, said they operated in Onitsha, Enugu and Rivers states, but made Imo State their base because it was where victims were kept until ransoms were paid.
 
The suspect, who said his role in the gang was to drive victims to their den, said Sylvester and Ogbenna were assigned to watch over the victims until their relatives brought ransoms.
 
He said, “I am a mechanic. My job was to drive the victims to the hideout at Atta. Sylvester and Ogbenna watched over them. Boss (one of the killed kingpins) was the owner of the Prado Jeep, while he bought the Volkswagen Jetta for me for the business.
 
“When we got ransoms, he gave us according to the role we played. When one of our victims paid N2m, he gave me about N380,000. Since December 2017, he had given me above N600,000 in all the operations.”
 
A source in the command confided in our correspondent that one of the killed kingpins was a multimillionaire.
 
“It was unfortunate that we couldn’t capture him alive. He was a multimillionaire. He bought cars which he distributed in communities where he received chieftaincy titles.
 
“We have laid hands on some vital documents which will aid us in our investigations. The CP wants a clean job. Three are dead and three are alive. But we believe that they have accomplices and we are going after them,” the police source said.

Nurudeen Adegbenro