From Okey Sampson, Aba
police in Abia State said it has shot dead a suspected kidnapper and armed robber whose gang had been involved in high profile kidnappings and killings in Abia and neighbouring states, including the killing of an Imo State-born US-based army officer, Chuks Mbaeri Okebata.
Okebata was shot dead at Mbieri in Mbaitoli Local Government of Imo State last December when he came home on Christmas holiday.
A statement by Abia command Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Geoffrey Ogbonna, said the suspect, Samuel Kalu (aka Obere), a native of Okai Item in Bende Local Government Area was also involved in the killing of two policemen at the Orji Uzor Kalu Bridge in Aba in April.
He also reportedly participated in the killing of about eight members of the Abia State Vigilante Service (AVGS) at MCC junction along Aba-Owerri Road, early this year.
Ogbonna stated that Obere was killed when operatives from the Anti-Kidnapping Section of the State Criminal Investigation Department (D7), Umuahia, smashed the hideout of a kidnapping/armed robbery gang that had been terrorising Abia and neighbouring states, at Ukpakiri in Obingwa Local Government Area, off Aba-Ikot Ekpene Expressway.
Ogbonna disclosed that after the raid of the hideout and following a tip off, Kalu (aka Obere), a senior member of the gang was traced to Okai Item.
The PPRO stated that on sighting the operatives, Kalu opened fire and the police team responded. In the ensuing gun duel, some policemen were injured and their operational vehicle destroyed.
However, Kalu who was said to have been shot and injured in the leg was arrested by the police.
Before he died, Obere was said to have confessed to killing two policemen at the Orji Uzor Kalu Bridge, Okebata at Mbieri, Imo State and eight members of AVGS.
The Command spokesman who said the police had deployed members of the Tactical Response Squad (TRS) to assist in tracking down other members of the gang and enjoined the public to volunteer useful information that would lead to the arrest of the hoodlums.