Sixteen members of the Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) have been arrested, along with guns and bombs, by the police.
The police in a statement Sunday accused them of complicity in a series of violent and unprovoked attacks on security operatives and facilities in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria and other states.
According to the police, the arrest was the outcome of a joint effort by the police, the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Airforce, to nab persons responsible for the emerging trend of attacks on security personnel and wanton destruction of security facilities.
Among the suspects were Ugochukwu Samuel a.k.a Biggy, a 28-year-old from Arochukwu LGA in Abia State; Raphael Idang, 31-year-old native of Odukpani LGA of Cross River state.
Others were Cletus Nwachukwu Egole aka ‘Alewa’, 60-years-old native of Orlu in Imo State; Michael Uba, 33yrs from Imo State.
Twelve other suspects were not identified.
The police said that in the course of investigation, the suspects were implicated in multiple felonies committed across several states in the South-Eastern part of the Federation.
“The suspects were arrested in various parts of the country following sustained, and intelligence-driven sting operations”, said Police PRO, commissioner Frank Mba.
“Police investigations clearly established and linked the suspects to several incidents of attacks and murder of security personnel as well as stealing, unlawful possession of firearms, arson and malicious damage to operational assets of military and law enforcement agents.
“Specifically, investigations revealed that the duo of Ugochukwu Samuel aka Biggy and Raphael Idang were among the criminal elements that attacked policemen on duty at a checkpoint on 24th December, 2020 along Orlu-Ihiala Road in Imo state where two police officers were killed and a Police Hilux patrol van set ablaze.
“In addition, both were part of a larger group that attacked a police reconnaissance team on 13th January, 2021 killing one police officer.
“Ugochukwu Samuel a.k.a Biggy, who sustained a bullet wound during an attack by his gang on a military convoy in which some soldiers were killed and weapons carted away, was subsequently arrested while receiving treatment in a hospital.
“Both suspects confessed to being active members of IPOB and Eastern Security Network(ESN).
“Cletus Nwachukwu Egole aka Alewa, a pastor with the Holy Blessed Trinity Sabbath Church, Orlu, Imo State and Michael Uba, a prophet with the Association of Jewish Faith, who were also arrested, are two of the masterminds of the various attacks on security personnel, in addition to providing spiritual cover for the gang.
“Cletus Nwachukwu Egole aka Alewa’s house was used by the gang members to plan their nefarious operations. He also donated his late brother’s farmland for use as a hideout and training camp for the gang”.
The police recovered from them nine AK47 rifles, five other sophisticated firearms, 17 AK47 Magazines, 549 AK47 live ammunition, 10 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), camouflage bullet proof vests, walkie talkies and other incriminating items were recovered from the suspects.
All the suspects will be charged to court on conclusion of investigations, the police said.