By Esther Nworie
Five of the suspected criminals who invaded a commercial bank at Onueke Ezza South Local Government Area last week for armed robbery have been arrested while some of them were allegedly killed by the security.
Police said a female and two male suspects were killed during a police raid at their hide-out in Ezza North but Citizens’ Advocate gathered that three of the suspects were allegedly killed during a shootout with the police on Tuesday but the hoodlums took their corpses and buried them in a shallow grave at Oriuzor.
The suspects had last Tuesday raided Ezza South including the airport site before they were repelled by a joint security force from Abakaliki.
A statement from the Force Police Public Relations Officer, CP Frank Mba, said that the police also intercepted 753 live ammunition of General-Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) concealed in a sac being transported in a commercial vehicle from Abakaliki, Ebonyi State to Umuahia in Abia State.
CP Mba gave further details on the exhibits recovered from the Onueke foiled bank robbery.
He, in the statement, commended the police in Ebonyi State for using their eagle eye to track the hoodlums.
The statement read, “the operatives of the Nigeria Police Force attached to the Ebonyi State Police Command have intercepted 753 live ammunition of General-Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) concealed in a sac being transported in a commercial vehicle from Abakaliki, Ebonyi State to Umuahia in Abia State.
“The intelligence-driven covert operation, which led to the interception and recovery of the deadly ammunition, is part of efforts by the force to identify and track criminal networks and supply chains for weapons and ammunition in and around the country.
According to him, tracking aids investigations and tracking aimed at bringing to book all persons linked to the crime, are ongoing.
“Similarly, following investigations into the foiled bank robbery on the Onueke branch of a commercial bank in Ebonyi State which occurred on Tuesday, 27th April, 2021; Police operatives led by the Commissioner of Police, Ebonyi State Command, on 29th April, 2021, stormed the criminal hideout of suspects indicted in the investigations located at Oriuzo village in Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
“The suspects on sighting the Police squad, opened fire on them. The Police team engaged them gallantly and professionally. At the end, three (3) members of the gang comprising two (2) males and one (1) female met their waterloo following bullet injuries sustained during the exchange of gun. Other suspects fled in different directions.
“Two (2) Ak47 riffles, five (5) pump action guns, six (6) pistols, fifty (50) Ak47 ammunition, one hundred and twenty-rifles, six (6) cartridges, jack knives, cutlasses, and a 40-page notebook containing inventories of ammunition purchased by the gang were recovered.
A Honda Pilot Jeep with Reg No. ABJ 163 NV used for the foiled bank robbery was also recovered by the Police Team.
“Unrelenting in their quest to apprehend the remaining suspects, the Police team traced the suspects to a shrine where the robbers usually go for mystical powers before embarking on their robbery operations.
Two (2) of the suspects were eventually arrested from the supposedly safe haven – the shrine, which led to the arrest of additional three (3) members of the gang.
Meanwhile, efforts are ongoing to arrest other fleeing members of the gang and their spiritual godfather – the chief priest of the shrine.
“The Inspector General of Police, Ag. IGP Usman Alkali Baba, psc (+), NPM, fdc, while commending the Commissioner of Ebonyi State Police Command, CP Aliyu Garba, psc (+) and officers of the command, for excellently harnessing intelligence to nip the crimes in the bud, assured citizens of the renewed commitment of the Force to improving public safety and combating all forms of violent crimes across the land.”