MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
The police in Anambra state at the weekend, recorded a breakthrough by arresting six members of a notorious criminal gang that has been terrorizing Eziowelle
community and its environs for long.
Recovered from the dare-devil members of the gang were weapons which included: three English pump action rifles and other dangerous weapons which they used for their operations.
It was gathered that the criminals were rounded up after the state Commissioner of Police , Echeng Echeng received reports about their criminal activities in the area.
Police sources said members of the notorious gang have, for long, been using an illegal vigilante group to kidnap, rob, intimidate and harass people in the community.
They were also alleged to have broken into homes of prominent individuals in the community, stolen their properties, raped female members of their families and kidnapped others who would later be forced to part with huge sums of money as ransom.
Sources said that one prominent man in the area that claims to be a Pastor also controls his own gang that has been indulging in criminal acts in Eziowelle for long with the tacit support of some leaders of the community who always claimed to have contacts with security agencies in both Anambra state and Abuja that would protect them.
According to sources, they made the town so hot that many indigenes both in Nigeria and abroad, ran away from their homes for fear of being kidnapped and forced to pay ransome under the guise of being a vigilante group.
AtlanticNewsonline learned that some of their victims were not only abducted at midnight, but taken to offices of some security agencies where they were tortured, harassed and intimidated into parting with huge sums of money to buy their freedom.
One of their victims was said to had been abducted from his house one midnight, last year, taken to the office of a security agency in another town where he was subjected to torture along with many others in an underground cell and later brought before the police on trumped up charges. The police, however, freed them after carrying out thorough investigation into the case.
Sources said that when report of their criminal activities was received by the Commissioner of Police, Echeng Echeng, he swiftly directed the Commander of Anti cult Unit in the state, CSP Uche Noah to swing into action and round up all the criminals involved in the nefarious acts.
Their operations reportedly paid off after CSP Uche stormed the town in an operation described as ‘unprecedented in execution’ and rounded up the suspects. This, according to sources, was after they gave the police team stiff resistance and confronted them with hot exchange of firepower that lasted for hours.
It was gathered that the police team succeeded in routing them and arrested six of their kingpins while others escaped with serious bullet wounds.
Police sources said the operations will be continued until they are flushed out and their financiers rounded up to make Eziowelle a peaceful town.
One of the sources intimated that CP Echeng Echeng gave them stern directives to go ahead and arrest all those, remotely or otherwise, involved in turning Eziowelle into a hot zone no matter how highly or lowly placed and charge them to court without delay.
Meanwhile, it was learned that decoy teams have penetrated the town and its environs and more arrests will soon be carried out.