…As soldiers rescue victim, recover over N5m cash, Toyota RAV 4, various arms and ammunition, other items
From CHUKS ONUOHA, Umuahia
FOUR buildings belonging to a suspected kidnapper at Etitiama Nkporo, the home state of the Deputy Governor of Abia State, Hon. Ude Oko Chukwu, were on Friday reduced to rubble, when they were demolished in demonstration of the state government’s resolve to combat kidnapping and other heinous crimes in the state.
The buildings were said to have been used as a den for holding kidnapped victims by a native of the community, Agbai Agbai Kalu, who was alleged to have kept an Aba businessman he abducted in one of the buildings until he was rescued by soldiers from the Ohafia barracks. It was further learnt that the buildings belonged to the parents and relations of the kidnappers.
Etitiama is made up of four autonomous communities, and the Deputy Governor hails from one of them.
Sunday Sun gathered that the kidnappers hid their victims in the demolished buildings for days before they they were arrested.
It could be recalled that the military at Ohafia, about a week ago smashed a notorious kidnap gang that operated between Aba and Ohafia.
One member of the four-man gang was arrested by the army after the gang kidnapped an Aba-based businessman, who they took to Ndinkefa Compound, in Etitiama Nkporo in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State, where he was held in custody.
Some residents, who noticed unusual movements and activities, alerted soldiers at Abiriba junction, who swiftly responded and rescued the victim.
In the attempt to escape, one of the kidnappers said to be a business colleague of the kidnapped victim jumped to his death.
The owner of the building and another member of his gang escaped and are still being tracked by the military.
The arrested kidnapper, Chidiebere Sunday, a native of Umumgbokwa in Umuahia North LGA said that he came home to bury his father and after informing his friend, Ifeanyi about the burial, he asked him to come for some money.
He said that it was in an effort to get the money from Ifeanyi that soldiers arrested him.
The Army Public Relations Officer, APRO, Major Sydney Mbaneme told newsmen that items recovered from them included two Ak-47 rifles, nine magazines loaded with 124 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, one pistol, two rounds of 9mm ammunition, two cutlasses, six GSM handsets, one chain, one iPad, a wrap of substance suspected to be Indian hemp, two motorcycle number plates, one camouflage jungle hat, 1 Diamond Bank ATM and the cash sum of N5,490,000.
Mbaneme said further that in a follow up search the next day, on Saturday, April 9, 2016, the army recovered a Toyota Rav 4 with Registration Number Lagos MUS 428 RZ, used in kidnapping the rescued victim, bunch of keys, one generator set and two empty traveling bags.
He said that the victim, who was shot and kidnapped on Wednesday, April 6, 2016, is responding to treatment in an undisclosed hospital.
The security adviser to Governor Ikpeazu, Captain Awa Udonsi (Rtd) said that there is an existing law in the state, which prescribes that any building used for the purpose of holding the victims of kidnapping would be demolished.
He reiterated the governor’s determination to flush out kidnappers from the state, stressing that government would not hesitate to pull down any building involved in the crime.
He commended the security agencies in the state, especially the military, for being alive to their responsibilities even as he praised the people of Mkporo for promptly reporting unusual movement in their vicinity to security agents without fear. He urged Abians to always volunteer useful information to security agents.
In an interview, some residents, Ezekiel Anyasam Samuel Kalu and Mrs Glory Anyasam expressed sadness over the involvement of one of their own in the despicable act as their community is known to be peaceful, pointing out that they never associated Agbai Agbai Kalu, who resides in Aba and visits home sometimes with crime such as kidnapping.