Ben Dunno, Warri
A 37-year old kingpin of one of the most dreaded kidnap syndicates in Delta State, Fela Olujere, has been shot dead by the police during a midnight raid of the kidnappers’ den in Sapele Local Government Area.
Also arrested were two members of the notorious gang, one Kelvin Oghene and Farri Biekena who are currently being detained at the Eburumede police station in Uvwie council area.
The police team from Eburumede who invaded the criminal hideout following a distressed call by the family of a kidnapped victim also recovered cut-to-size double-barrel guns and cartridges from the Sapele forest where the gang operates.
Investigations carried out by our correspondent revealed that the gang had been responsible for the series of high-profile kidnapping and armed robbery cases within Warri metropolis and its environs.
Some of the gang members were said to have been on the wanted list of police in the state for various crimes ranging from armed robbery to rape, but later took to kidnapping to avoid direct contact with police during operations.
Luck was however said to have run out on the gang when they laid ambush at Ugbolokoso area of Uvwie council area on May 4, 2019, and abducted Mr. Joe Oleju, who was in company with a friend, Hon. Charles, former vice- chairman of Warri South council area.
Briefed on the incident, the men of the Eburumede police station led by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Mr Anietie Eyoh, immediately sung into action by tracking the phone lines of both the suspects and the victim on who a ransom of N10m was placed.
Police sources disclosed that through the phone tracking, the first suspect was arrested and based on his confessional statement the other gang members including the gang leader were arrested
The deceased suspect, Fela Olujere, who happened to be the gang kingpin had taken the police to the forest to recover weapons used during the operation but opted to escape after disclosing one of the locations before he was gunned down.
Narrating his ordeals, the victim, Joe Oleju, who is currently receiving treatment in a private hospital in Warri, said he was tortured and exposed to a very harsh environment in the forest throughout the two weeks he was held in captivity.
Delta State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Onome Onovwakpoyeya, who confirmed the incident when contacted, said the police would intensify investigations into the case to ensure that the rest of the gang members currently at large were arrested and brought to justice.