The Imo State Police Command has arrested nine suspected criminals terrorising parts of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the arrest came barely two weeks after gunmen attacked and killed four policemen in a restaurant at the Ngor Okpala area of the state.
In a statement made available to newsmen on Sunday, the command’s spokesman, ASP Henry Okoye, said the command also recovered arms and ammunition from the suspects’ hideouts.
Okoye said the arrests followed the state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Mohammed Barde’s directive to commence a detailed investigation and manhunt to unravel the perpetrators of the Ngor Okpala dastardly act.
“Acting on the CP’s directives, a detachment of the Command’s tactical team on April 24 at about 1730hrs after a diligent gathering of credible intelligence, arrested one Mathew Chuwkuma, 48 years, of Mpam Ahaizu Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State, in his hideout at Umuahia, Abia.
“He confessed to be the Sector Commander of the proscribed and dreadful IPOB/Eastern Security Network (ESN) syndicate in Mbaise and assisted the curious operatives in arresting three of his syndicate,” Okoye said.
He listed the names of the suspects as Ojoko Ikechukwu, 53; Chilaka Charles, 44; and Anthony Iwu, 50, who were all arrested in their criminal hideout at Umuokiria, Ahaizu Mbaise Local Government Area of the state, while others escaped.
He said on searching the suspects and their hideout, incriminating items were recovered.
Okoye said one cut-to-size AK-47 rifle, 190 rounds of live 7.62 mm ammunition, two AK-47 magazines, two cut-to-size double barrel guns and one locally fabricated Beretta pistol were recovered from the terrorist hideout.
“In the course of the investigation, the suspects all confessed to being members of the proscribed IPOB/ESN syndicate terrorising the good people of Imo and had a hand in the recent killing of four Police officers and two civilians at Ngor Okpala.
“They volunteered crucial information that assisted the determined operatives on April 27 at about 1240hrs in raiding their second hideout/shrine in Itu, Ezinitte Mbaise local government area of Imo, which led to the arrest of four other notorious IPOB/ESN suspects famous on the command’s wanted list due to their nefarious activities,” he said