Residents of the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra State and it’s environs may heave a sigh of relief, following the arrest of one of the notorious member of a deadly armed robbery gang operating in various parts of the area.
Men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, attached to Okpoko unit recently launched an onslaught against the gang that had terrorized the inhabitants ,and the leader of the gang identified as Friday Christian was arrested.
The arrest of the said Christian, according to a reliable police source, has so far revealed the operational base of the deadly gang, their identities and modus operandi.According to the source, the gang which usually operated with motorcycles, had in October, this year, allegedly gunned down and killed an operative of Okpoko vigilance group simply identified as ‘Stubborn’ at Mugambo Street, Okpoko in the Onitsha suburban area.
Not satisfied with the killing of ‘Stubbon’, the source stated, the gangsters allegedly laid ambush and attacked another team of vigilante operatives in another location in the same Okpoko and injured the driver of the vigilante operatives, after riddling their patrol van with bullets. Last Friday, the gangsters carried out a bloody operation when they robbed motorists at Old Motor Spare Parts Market, Ugwuagba Layout, Obosi, popularly called ‘Mgbuka market, during which they realized N500,000 and killed a teenage girl.
The source further stated that during the operation, the robbers were shooting indiscriminately and in the process, a stray bullet hit the teenage girl and she slumped and died, while the gangsters carted away their N500,000 loot. But 24 hours after the incident, men of the SARS apprehended one of the gang members, Christian, on top of Upper Iweka Fly-over bridge who not only confessed to the operations of his gang but also mentioned the names of their gang leader and others.
He also confessed to the police that their gang leader gave him only N50,000 as his own share out of the N500,000 loot while others shared the remaining N450,000, adding that they were after the vigilante group because of teaming up with the police to ‘spoil’ their robbery business.
The commander of SARS at Okpoko Unit, DSP Anthony Ogar, who confirmed the arrest to Crime Guard in his office, declined further comments, adding that the suspect had been transferred to Anambra State SARS Headquarters, Awkuzu, for further investigations.
Ogar whose crime fighting tactics had been acknowledged by the inhabitants in the area, including some human rights bodies, however, maintained that the police are on the trail of the leader and other members of the gang, hence the long arm of the law would soon catch up with them, particularly now that their identities and operational base have been revealed.
It would be recalled that the armed robbers had chased the deceased vigilante operative from the rear and before he could escape, he crashed into iron protectors in the window of a compound which could not allow him jump through.
The robbers followed him into the compound and allegedly shot sporadically on the door and succeeded in pulling it off completely from the wall. They now pumped bullets into ‘stubborns’ skull and chest until they emptied one magazine on him before leaving him. According to an eye witness, it took the combined efforts of men of the Okpoko sector of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, and other members of Okpoko vigilante group, based on information provided by members of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, to unravel the mystery of the armed invasion and killing.