The Police Command in Enugu State says it has arrested 26 suspects involved in offences of conspiracy, unlawful possession of firearms, ammunition and cult activities within two days in the state.
The state’s Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Daniel Ndukwe, in a statement on Wednesday said the command recovered one English-made Berretta pistol with one live round of .9mm calibre ammunition, four locally made pistols with live cartridges and others.
Ndukwe said that on May 29 at about 11 p.m., a combined team of police operatives from Operation Restore Peace and Enugu Metro Area Command, while on routine stop and search duty along Abakaliki Road, Enugu; intercepted a commercial bus.
“The interception of the commercial bus led to the arrested of Obinna Owoh, 22; while two of his cohorts escaped. Search conducted on him led to the recovery of two locally-made pistols with three live cartridges,” he said.
The police spokesman noted that similarly on May 28 at about 5:30 p.m., police operatives serving in the Nsukka Sector of the Command’s Crack Squad arrested one Benedict Nwodo, 29, of Ugwuechara in Nsukka.
“His arrest followed a distress call alleging that he was sighted with a gun along CSO Site in Nsukka. One English-made Berretta pistol with one live round of .9mm calibre of ammunition was recovered from him,” he said.
Ndukwe said that on the same May 28 at about 4:30a.m., police operatives serving in Anti-Cultism Squad, acting on credible information busted a secret cult initiation meeting in a forest at Eke in Udi council area and arrested 24 suspects.
“The command recovered two locally made pistols, seven black berets and a white-coloured, ten litres can, containing liquid substance suspected to be a mixture of palm wine and Indian hemp used for the initiation.
“Ongoing investigation revealed that the suspects are made up of 14 newly initiated and 10 old members of Apache Tigers, popularly known as Black Beret Confraternity. They all confessed to being members of the secret cult group,” he said.
The police spokesman said that all the suspects would be arraigned in court once ongoing investigations are concluded.
He said the state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Lawal Abubakar, had charged police operatives to remain at the top of their games, in view of actualising the command’s quest to purge the state of unrepentant criminal elements.
Ndukwe said, “Members of the public should remain law-abiding, vigilant and continue to assist the Police with credible and timely information/intelligence it requires to clamp down on unrepentant criminal elements in the state.
“This they can do by reporting at the nearest police station or by calling the Command’s emergency hotlines on: 08032003702, 08075390883 or 08086671202.
“Or alternatively send e-mails [email protected] use the “NPF Rescue App” to make such reports, and rest assured that their identities and the reports shall be accorded utmost confidentiality and necessary action”.