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Imo monarch, others nabbed for kidnapping

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THE Imo state police command has arrested a traditional ruler, Eze Andrew Okwuegbunwa, of Uba -Agwa autonomous community in Awara, Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of the State and seven others for allegedly organising kidnapping and armed robbery activities within and outside his community.

  The state Commissioner of Police, Isaac Akinmoyede, who paraded the community leader and eight suspected members of his gang at the command headquarters in Owerri, alleged that they were responsible for the killing of two personnel of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in the state a few months ago.

  The traditional ruler was paraded alongside his cousin, a pastor and others for allegedly kidnapping their victims. According to the CP, the gang at different locations in Owerri, the state capital successfully kidnapped their victims but they were not lucky enough to escape from the hot chase of the anti-kidnapping unit of the command who got a hint of their operation.

  He said the traditional ruler provided the gang’s operational vehicle while the cleric was the leader of the gang. The CP said the syndicate had abandoned their Lexus 330 jeep during an exchange of gunfire with the security operatives.

  He said the sum of N4.2 million, one Lexus 330 SUV, four AK 47 rifles, one LAR rifle, one SMG rifle, 120 rounds of 7.62MM life ammunition were recovered from the gang.

  “On July 28, at Umuokuzu Awara in Ohaji/Egbema LGA of Imo state, SARS operatives through painstaking and diligent investigation arrested one Eze Andrew Okuegbunuwa, 59, of Obor community in Awara, Oguta LGA, Imo state, in connection with kidnappings and other armed robbery incidents,” he said.

  “Investigation further revealed that the suspect provided the operational vehicle, Lexus RX 330 with number plate, URM 404 EL, for the kidnappers.

  “Having lost the vehicle in an operation, the monarch was given the sum of N3 million to replace his vehicle by the kidnappers. It was further disclosed that the vehicle was not registered, as there is no record of it in the Federal Road Safety Corps database.”

  When interviewed, the traditional ruler confirmed that the syndicate paid him N3 million to use his vehicle for their operations and that he had collected other sums of money from them too.

  “My nephew took my vehicle to do kidnapping. I am not one of them. Though they have used my vehicle about four times and they gave me money,” he said.

  The other members of the gang include Ikechukwu Njoku as protocol officer; Ebenezer Obioha, as operational commander and executor; Fabian Obioha, the gang armourer while Bernard Uzoma was the native doctor that provided ”protection from operational hazards and arrests”.

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