The police in Ebonyi State have arrested 11 suspects including a kidnapper operating in Ebonyi and Abia states, Ogonna Alioka.
Mr. Alioka, popularly known as Pilot according to the police, was allegedly among the gang of kidnappers involved in the abduction and killing of a 60-year old woman, Catherine Okorie.
The late Mrs. Okorie, an indigene of Ishiagu community in Ivo local government area of Ebonyi State, was on January 18 abducted in her residence.
She was later killed and buried by her assailants in a shallow grave in a forest bordering Lokpanta in Umunneochi and Awgu local government areas of Abia and Enugu states, for allegedly recognising one of the kidnappers.
Parading the suspects at Police Headquarters Abakaliki, the police spokesperson in the state, Jude Madu, said though some members of the gang had been arrested and arraigned in court, Mr. Alioka who allegedly drove the vehicle used in the operation had been on the run until a few days ago when he was arrested in Abia State.
The suspect, Mr. Alioka, in a chat with reporters confessed to the crimes.
He alleged that the woman was killed while fleeing from them in the bush, claiming that he engaged his colleagues in a fight when the incident occurred.
He alleged that the abduction of the woman was masterminded by an unnamed politician in Ishiagu.
The other suspects who included Chukwudi Nwezaku, Otu Okpara, Eze Chima, Chiadikaobi Ani, Uchechukwu Aniewo and Ozomena Obasi, were arrested in connection with armed robbery attacks, electricity cable vandalism, buying of stolen cars and unlawful possession of firearms.
Mr. Madu explained that police also arrested one Gideon Omaka who was just released from prison custody in March this year for allegedly robbing and killing one Idam Ogbonnaya during a robbery incident in Amasiri, Afikpo North local government area.
The group is believed to be responsible for various armed robbery and other criminal activities recorded recently in the area.
Mr. Omaka’s arrest came after angry youth in the community attacked and buried alive his brother, Chukwudi Omaka, who was also part of the gang that robbed Ogbonnaya.
A witness and resident of the community, Emmanuel Udu, told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr. Omaka was also among robbers who robbed one cool room.
“This handsome boy was beaten thoroughly; despite that, he refused to call the names of his members. He was later buried alive by Amasiri youths”, Mr. Udu told our correspondent.
Items recovered from them include five vehicles, one tricycle, electronics, guns and live cartridges.
Mr. Madu said the suspects would be arraigned in court soon.