The Police has arrested over 16 suspects in connection with the killing of security operatives in the Southeast.
The arrest is a consequence of strategies and synergy adopt
ed by the Police following incessant attacks on security operatives in the South East.
The arrest was enforced through a joint effort by the Army and Air Force.
Most of the suspects were alleged to be members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
According to the Police, the suspects were implicated in multiple felonies committed across several states in the Southeast.
In a statement, the Force spokesman, Frank Mba identified the suspects as Ugochukwu Samuel aka Biggy, 28, from Abia State, and Raphael Idang, 31, from Odukpani in Cross River State.
Others are Cletus Nwachukwu Egole aka ‘Alewa’, 60, from Imo State; Michael Uba, 33, from Imo State and 12 others.
He said the suspects were arrested in various parts of the country following intelligence-driven sting operations.
Mba said investigations linked the suspects to the attacks and killing of security personnel, as well as stealing, unlawful possession of firearms, arson and malicious damage to operational assets of military and law enforcement agents.
He added that no fewer than nine AK47 rifles, five other sophisticated firearms, 17 AK47 magazines, 549 AK47 live ammunition, 10 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), camouflage bulletproof vests, walkie-talkies and other incriminating items were recovered from the suspects.
The spokesman assured that all the suspects will be charged to court.
The statement read in part:
“The arrest is an outcome of painstaking, deliberate and tireless efforts by operatives of the Nigeria Police working in collaboration with their counterparts from the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Airforce.
“It is aimed at bringing to justice persons responsible for the emerging trend of attacks on security personnel and wanton destruction of security facilities and operational assets.
“Specifically, investigations revealed that the duo of Ugochukwu Samuel aka Biggy and Raphael Idang were among the criminal elements that attacked policemen on duty at a checkpoint on 24th December 2020 along Orlu-Ihiala Road in Imo State, where two police officers were killed and a police Hilux patrol van set ablaze.
“Both were part of a larger group that attacked a police reconnaissance team on 13th January 2021 killing one police officer.
“Both suspects confessed to being active members of IPOB and the ESN (Eastern Security Network).
“Cletus Nwachukwu Egole aka Alewa, a pastor with the Holy Blessed Trinity Sabbath Church, Orlu, Imo State and Michael Uba, a prophet with the Association of Jewish Faith, who were also arrested, are two of the masterminds of the various attacks on security personnel, in addition to providing spiritual cover for the gang.
“Cletus Nwachukwu Egole aka Alewa’s house was used by the gang members to plan their nefarious operations.
“He also donated his late brother’s farmland for use as a hideout and training camp for the gang”.
Meanwhile, IPOB debunked police claims that some of the 16 suspects were their members, saying that none of its members were involved in the killings.