Po­lice, DSS bat­tle crime surge in Rivers

Daily Trust - - CRIME - From Vic­tor Edozie, Port Har­court

Res­i­dents of Rivers State, es­pe­cially those re­sid­ing in Port Har­court, are wor­ried at the re­cent up­surge in bank rob­bery and sundry crimes, in­clud­ing kid­nap­ping and cultism.

Within two weeks, the state has recorded two bank rob­bery in­ci­dents, with one suc­cess­fully ex­e­cuted while the sec­ond was foiled by the po­lice.

In the Wa­ter­lines axis of Port Har­court, four armed rob­bers swooped on of­fi­cials of the Oyigbo Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Coun­cil. Dur­ing the op­er­a­tion, the of­fi­cials, two per­sonal as­sis­tants to the coun­cil chair­man, a po­lice es­cort and the driver of the Tun­dra jeep con­vey­ing them, were shot dead by the ram­pag­ing rob­bers.

Eye­wit­nesses said the rob­bers had trailed their vic­tims to the Wa­ter­lines branch of a new gen­er­a­tion bank where they had gone to with­draw money.

“No­body sus­pected any foul play. We saw the young men in a Toy­ota Corolla car as they parked very close to the bank, os­ten­si­bly wait­ing for their vic­tims. As soon as their vic­tims en­tered their car, the young men in the Toy­ota car fol­lowed them closely. The next thing we heard was spo­radic gun­shots. They first shot the po­lice of­fi­cer who was in front of the car, the driver and the rest be­fore they took a bag from the car, which I sus­pected was the money they with­drew from the bank. They shot spo­rad­i­cally into the air and had their way through,” an eye­wit­ness stated.

The sec­ond rob­bery in­ci­dent, which took place on Oc­to­ber 14, was foiled by the po­lice and an undis­closed amount of money re­cov­ered from the sus­pects. Our reporter gath­ered that the ban­dits es­caped and aban­doned their ve­hi­cle when the po­lice over­pow­ered them.

Po­lice op­er­a­tives found about nine bags stacked with bun­dles of naira notes packed in a Lexus jeep. The money was taken to the com­mand head­quar­ters.

It was also said that a new gen­er­a­tion bank was robbed in Trans Amadi area of Port Har­court. Po­lice source said the flee­ing rob­bers, about seven in num­ber, were fully armed and op­er­ated in two ve­hi­cles. The source said the rob­bers stormed the bank when mem­bers of staff were trans­fer­ring the bags of money into a bul­lion van.

The po­lice pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer, Rivers State com­mand, DSP Al­mad Muham­mad, who con­firmed the story, said his men re­ceived a dis­tress call few min­utes af­ter 5.00p.m. and re­sponded swiftly. He said the sus­pected rob­bers aban­doned their ve­hi­cle con­tain­ing the cash and es­caped with an­other ve­hi­cle.

In an­other de­vel­op­ment, gun­men in army uni­form ab­ducted five per­sons, in­clud­ing a male mem­ber of the Na­tional Youth Ser­vice Corps (NYSC). The in­ci­dent oc­curred last week Mon­day at the Gov­ern­ment Sec­ondary School, Agba-Ndele in Emo­hua Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area of the state. Eye­wit­nesses said the kid­nap­pers spent the night at the corps mem­bers’ lodge be­cause the NYSC mem­bers in the com­mu­nity had de­serted the area due to in­se­cu­rity. An eye­wit­ness said the kid­nap­pers, about 10 in num­ber, came from the corps mem­bers’ lodge.

“They first took the se­cu­rity guard, whose out­cry at­tracted the at­ten­tion of res­i­dents of the area. They there­after went af­ter the teach­ers, who scam­pered to safety along­side stu­dents. The kid­nap­pers wore army uni­form with masked faces. They took their vic­tims to a nearby Somberoro River, from where they zoomed off through a wait­ing boat,” the eye­wit­ness said.

The sus­pected kid­nap­pers, at the week­end, es­tab­lished con­tact with the com­mu­nity and de­manded a ran­som of N25mil­lion. The Para­mount ruler of Rumdele com­mu­nity, Eze God­win Ohalusi, who spoke to re­porters in Port Har­court on the in­ci­dent, said the com­mu­nity had no money to pay such amount of money the kid­nap­pers de­manded. He called on them to free their cap­tors un­con­di­tion­ally.

The Depart­ment of State Se­cu­rity Ser­vice (DSS), also last week, ar­rested four per­sons sus­pected to be in­volved in the ab­duc­tion of the Van­guard colum­nist, Dornu Kog­bara. The sus­pects were pa­raded at the DSS of­fice in Port Har­court by the state di­rec­tor of the agency, Ibrahim Ngoshe, who told re­porters that the sus­pects were part of a 13-man gang that kid­napped the colum­nist on Au­gust 30, 2015. He said pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion and the state­ments of the sus­pects in­dicted them.

A pump ac­tion gun and other am­mu­ni­tions were re­cov­ered from the sus­pects.

As part of its drive to com­bat­ing crime, the Rivers State po­lice Com­mand re­cently pa­raded 20 sus­pects in­volved in dif­fer­ent crimes, rang­ing from kid­nap­ping, armed rob­bery and cultism. It also said seven kid­napped vic­tims were res­cued at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions in Port Har­court.

Var­i­ous caches of arms such as five AK47, one GPR, 5 lo­cally made pis­tol, 6 sin­gle-bar­rel gun , 161 rounds of am­mu­ni­tion, as well as 11 ve­hi­cles, were dis­played be­fore jour­nal­ists.

Parad­ing the sus­pects be­fore re­porters in Port Har­court, the Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice, Rivers State Com­mand, Musa Kimo, said out of the 20 sus­pects ar­rested, 11 were kid­nap­pers, five were cultists and four armed rob­bers.

He added, “You will re­mem­ber that on July 27, 2015, we pa­raded Kelvin Og­bu­laon, 22, Chi­wendu Akani, 20, and Nel­son Kacaran­moh, 23, who con­fessed to have kid­napped, killed and buried one Fri­day Ozoko in a shal­low grave at the Choba water­front. Stephen Eze­bunwo, who was ar­rested at Rukpukwo on Oc­to­ber 1, is in the po­lice net.

“Also, our quick re­sponses and dis­creet in­ves­ti­ga­tions into re­ported cases of kid­nap­pings have led to the safe res­cue of seven vic­tims. They are Mrs. Bunmi Shonoye, 43, Mrs. Thressa Nwosu, 76, Osimoke Itu, Ju­dah Ayoade, 10, Ugochukwu Duru, Mr. Fri­day Ozogo , 45, and Pro­fes­sor Iheanyi S. Nzeneri, 68, who is of the Univer­sity of Port Har­court. Th­ese res­cued kid­napped vic­tims were found in an in­hu­man con­di­tion

“On Septem­ber 28, 2015, about 11:00 am, our men con­ducted a sting op­er­a­tion along NTA Road, Port Har­court and ar­rested one Sunny Os­sai, who is the sus­pected leader of a car snatch­ing syn­di­cate. Fur­ther in­ter­ro­ga­tion of Sunny Os­sai led our men to Abia State, where five sus­pected stolen ve­hi­cles were re­cov­ered. The ve­hi­cles are Toy­ota RAV4 (gold colour), Toy­ota Camry (gray colour), Toy­ota Camry (sil­ver colour), Honda EOD (sil­ver colour), Toy­ota Land Cruiser jeep (wine colour). A sil­ver colour Toy­ota Lexus be­long­ing to one Mrs. E. Amadi, which was snatched at gun­point along Obiri-Ik­w­erre, was also re­cov­ered by the op­er­a­tives of the com­mand on Septem­ber 29, 2015 in Awka, Anam­bra State.”

He, how­ever, de­bunked me­dia re­port that there is crime up­surge in the state, stress­ing that such re­port was the hand­i­work of “false alarmists.” He com­mended the peo­ple of the state for their co­op­er­a­tion and sup­port, and urged them not to re­lent in fur­nish­ing the com­mand with use­ful and cred­i­ble in­for­ma­tion.

Armed gang men ar­rested by River State Po­lice Com­mand.

Cash found in the ve­hi­cle used by the gang

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.