A joint operation by the police, Army and the Air Force in parts of the country, has resulted in the arrest of 16 suspects in connection with violent attacks on security personnel and facilities.
Specifically, the suspects were apprehended over their alleged complicity in a series of violent and unprovoked attacks on security operatives and facilities in some states, particularly in the South-East.
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), CP Frank Mba, said in a statement yesterday that the arrests of suspects in different parts of the country were a product of diligent, sustained and intelligence-driven sting operations.
Mba said the operation was “aimed at bringing to justice persons responsible for the emerging trend of attacks on security personnel and wanton destruction of security facilities and operational assets”.
The FPRO listed the suspects to include Ugochukwu Samuel aka Biggy (28), a native of Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State; Raphael Idang (31), a native of Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State; Cletus Nwachukwu Egole aka Alewa (60), a native of Orlu in Imo State; and Michael Uba (33) from Imo State.
Mba said in the course of investigation, the suspects, who would be prosecuted upon conclusion of investigations, were implicated in multiple felonies committed across several states in the South-East.
He said: “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 on 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 aka 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 the Indigenous People of Biafra (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.”