From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Personnel of the Abia State Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Nigeria Police have arrested another seven suspected kidnappers, bringing the number of such arrests to 10 in recent weeks.
One of the suspects, Tochukwu Raphael Godwin, was arrested in connection with the kidnap of a Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Godfrey Mark, in Umuahia.
The priest was abducted on October 13, 2021, at about 7am, at Olokoro, while returning from a morning Mass he conducted at Afara.
The Rev. Father was eventually released on October 22, but it was not clear if ransom was paid or not.
However, after his release, men of the Abia RRS swung into action and on November 10, and at about 4.45pm, they recovered a GSM phone used in demanding ransom from relatives of the priest from the suspect, Godwin of Umudu Osisoma Ngwa Local Government Area.
A source said he was promptly arrested with the phone, while investigation is ongoing.
It was equally gathered that on October 18, a seven-man kidnapping gang, abducted one Okezie Anthony Uche at Okpulo Umuobo, Aba, and released him after collecting N800,000 ransom.
The same gang was said to have also abducted one Maduabuchi Ezekwe, at the Glass Force axis of Aba, and held him hostage in a house belonging to one Udochi David (also a suspect), at Umuehiukwu, Osokwa, in Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area.
The victim was said to have been set free after his relatives paid N1.762 million ransom.
A source said the RRS commander in Abia, SP Obioguru Johnbull, piqued by this development and with credible intelligence, detailed his men to the kidnappers’ hideout, where one Shalom Chijioke Timothy from Onicha Ngwa in Obingwa Local Government Area, and Favour Samson from Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State, were arrested.
It was gathered that following information provided by the arrested suspects, RRS men, on November 5, carried out another raid at the gang’s hideout at Okpulo Umuobo, where three other kidnap suspects were arrested.
They include Uche Charles of Umuakatawom in Obingwa LGA; Ikenna Nwabekee of Okpulo Umuobo, Osisioma Ngwa LGA; Chinyere Ochieze of Okpulo Umuobo, Osisioma Ngwa LGA, and Udochi David, a.k.a Bishop of Umuehiukwu, Osokwa, also in Osisioma Ngwa LGA.
Items recovered from the hoodlums during the raid were said to have included two pump action guns, eight live cartridges, three matchetes, one military camouflage, four assorted GSM phones, two SIM cards and one ATM card