From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
A suspected member of a dreaded gang of kidnappers terrorising Obiaruku and environs in Ukwuani Local Government Area of Delta State has revealed the modus operandi of the armed gang.
The suspect, who turned himself in to leaders of the community, revealed horrendous details of what he and his fellow kidnappers had been doing to victims,.
In a chilling narration, the man, who identified himself as Chidi, told his astonished audience that even after his gang must have collected ransom amounting to huge sums, kidnapped victims were usually butchered like goats, chickens and other animals, and their parts sold to ‘çlients’, , including internet fraudsters known as Yahoo Boys for rituals.
He said the Yahoo Boys and other clients were always on ground to buy the human parts, adding that they struggled to meet up with their demands.
The suspect went further to describe his gang as the most deadly kidnapping gang ever, describing their method of kidnapping, collection of ransom and killing of victims as the most gruesome in history.
Before now, the terror gang terrorised the community unfettered, kidnapping people at will.
They collected all sorts of ransom before freeing some lucky victims, while the unfortunate ones never lived to tell the bitter tale of their experiences in the hands of the gang.
Farmers no longer go to their farms, due to the nefarious activities of the gang coupled with the unrestrained attack by herdsmen in some cases.
Chairman of the local vigilantes in the community, Sunday Okolo aka Kaduna described the arrest of Chidi and three others as divine, adding that Obiaruku had been under siege in the recent past.
He said as a result of the activities of the gang, the community’s chief priest embarked on traditional sacrifices while the women embarked on incessant prayers.
“It was divine intervention to rescue Obiaruku land. Our people were no longer going to the farm, and the Onotu has to do some sacrifice.
“The suspect said his mind was pricking him, and therefore came out to confess to the elders.
“But he lied that he too was kidnapped. After much interrogation, we discovered that he was a member of the terror gang,” Kaduna said.
The confession of Chidi, a native of the town, led to a manhunt for the most deadly member of the gang identified as the ‘Chief Butcher’ who hails from Umuaja, a neighbouring community.
Community members said the man identified as the chief butcher possessed a white handkerchief with which he disappears when the chips are down.
But on the day of his arrest, when Chidi led vigilante operatives to his hideout, he was incapacitated as he was not given the opportunity to use the said handkerchief, even though it was in his pocket.
Kaduna said four of the suspects were arrested and handed over to the police in the town. The suspects have since been transferred to the Area Command in Agbor for further investigation.
Contacted in Asaba, acting Public Relations Officer of the state police command, DSP Bright Edafe confirmed the arrest of the suspects, adding that they have been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) at the command’s headquarter in Asaba.
Meanwhile, Chidi narrowly escaped being lynched by angry youths in the community who were determined to burn him alive after his horrendous confession.
The youths, it was gathered, prevented the police from taking the suspect into custody, insisting on subjecting him to a horrendous death.
All entreaties to the mob that their action might halt investigation with other gang members yet to be arrested fell on deaf ears until some military personnel were invited to whisk him away.
“They wanted to kill him. So we invited the police because we needed to protect him so that he could lead us to his gang members.
“Our youths even prevented the police until we invited the army. The soldiers took him away from Onotu-Uku before he confessed and told us their hideout in the bush.
“But before we got there, they had relocated with a female victim who we are still yet to rescue. The bush is a very difficult terrain but these hoodlums understand it very much. They run faster than the animals,” Kaduna stated.
According to him, the leader of the gang was still on the run.
But wild jubilation later followed in the community as residents poured out into the street to celebrate what they said was freedom from the pangs of bandits.