FIVE members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) have been arrested by the anti-kidnapping unit of the Imo State Police Command over the alleged killing of police sergeant Joseph Nwaka.
Over recent weeks, Imo State has become a hotbed of violence with armed gunmen attacking police stations and correctional facilities where they have set prisoners free. Ipob’s armed wind the Eastern Security Network (ESN) has been accused of being behind the violence and been the subject of a security crackdown.
Police spokesman Orlando Ikeokwu, said the suspects were arrested in Isu Local Government Area of the state, between Thursday and Friday by the anti-kidnapping unit and other tactical teams of the Imo State Police Command. He added that AK 47 rifle and 15 rounds of live ammunition were recovered from the suspects.
Other items recovered were four locally fabricated weapons, six live cartridges and a large quantity of substances suspected to be Indian hemp. According Mr Ikeokwu until his death, Sergeant Nwaka was attached to the command’s department of operations and after his was killed, his attackers made away with his AK 47 rifle.
Mr Ikeokwu said one of the suspects, Onyekachi Mmadufor, confessed to being a member of Ipob, admitting that he and his cohorts carried out attacks and killings of police and other security officials. He added that the Imo State police commissioner Abutu Yaro commended the operatives for a job well done and enjoined them to sustain the tempo so as to ensure lasting safety of Imo residents.
“The crime prevention and control strategies adopted by the Imo Police Command under the leadership of commissioner of police Abutu Yaro, to rid the state of activities of the proscribed Ipob and other criminal elements are yielding positive results. On May 14, the commissioner deployed anti-kidnapping unit and other tactical teams of the command to Amanator in Isu Local Government Area for the arrest of members of the Ipob but the hoodlums engaged them in a heavy gun duel.
“The operatives successfully repelled and dislodged them leading to the immediate arrest of five suspects while others escaped with possible gunshot wounds. Discreet investigation is in progress with a view to effecting further arrests, after which they will be charged,” Mr Ikeokwu said.
He urged the general public to support the police and the state government in their efforts to ensure security and peace of the state. Of late, joint security teams made up of soldiers and policemen have been deployed across Imo State.