By Francis Onyeukwu
A 26-year-old alleged army deserter, Ebeje Nnamdi, suspected to be the trainer of members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has been arrested by Police in Anambra.
Nnamdi was arrested alongside three others for their alleged involvement in armed robbery in Iyi Oji area of Anambra on Wednesday.
The Police Commissioner in the state, Mr Garba Umar, presented the suspects to newsmen on Thursday at the police command headquarters in Amawbia, near Awka.
The police also arrested 22 suspected cult members who were allegedly conducting their initiation ceremony in a bush.
Umar said the police recovered 336 rounds of 7.22x39mm, AK-47 live ammunition from the alleged (IPOB) members and their trainer.
“Police equally recovered three empty AK-47 riffles with magazines, one locally made double barrel pistol with two live cartridges, (IPOB) wears, IPOB flags, muffler, criminal charms and ATM cards.
“The Army deserter was formally of the 20 Mechanised Battalion, Taraba, in 2014 before he disappeared,’’ Umar said.
The commissioner said Nnamdi became a member of a six-man gang responsible for the attacks and killings of policemen at nipping points, robberies at fuel stations including that of Bukachi filling station, Eziowelle, both in Onitsha on Aug. 31, 2017.
Others who were arrested alongside Nnamdi were 26-year-old Onyebuchi Peter Ali and Ugwuokpe Nnaemeka, he said.
Umar said their case was under investigation and that they would be charged to court after investigation.
He also said that two members of a four-man gang of kidnappers were arrested, while one was killed in a gun battle with members of the state anti robbery squad (SARS), while the victim was rescued.
He said the alleged kidnapers were said to have abducted one John Ifediorah of Umuganagu village to Iyi Oji shrine, where he was said to have been subjected to torture before the police swooped on them.
Those arrested during the raid, he said, were Chukwudi Nwabundo and Obiora Madubueze, while Chinaza Udeezue was killed during the gun battle in the Aguleri bush.
The commissioner further said that the 22 cultists were apprehended at their initiation centre at Nnewi when the police teams from the Special Anti-Cultism (SPAC) cordoned off the place.
Umar said the suspects were members of Junior Vikings confraternity (JVC), Ayees, Aro, 2-2, Bagger, Baby Ayees and black axe and were of between the ages of 16 and 25.
Some of the items recovered from them included one locally made revolver pistol with one live ammunition; one locally made pistol gun with three live cartridges; daggers; three short axes; three machetes; one black turban belonging to Aro; muffler and black berets.
“The Anambra State Police command has continued to deliver on its mandate of protecting the lives and property of the people of the State.
“The command has been achieving results in the fight against crime due to the cooperation of well-meaning people in the state. We solicit that such synergy should be sustained.
“I wish to reiterate the readiness of the command to continue partnering with other security agencies and law abiding citizens of the state to eliminate all forms of crime and criminalities.
“I wish to advise parents to take care of their children/wards so as to reduce cult activities in the society,’’ Umar said.
The commissioner advised the people of the state to always report to the police or other security agencies any suspicious movement for urgent intervention.