Cult members among suspects involved in offences of conspiracy, unlawful possession of firearms, ammunition and cult activities in Enugu state, have been arrested.
The Police Command in Enugu said they were arrested at an initiation ceremony by members of Apache Tigers cult group popularly known as Black Beret, BB Confraternity in a forest at Eke in Udi council area of the state.
The state’s Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Daniel Ndukwe, in a statement on Wednesday said operatives serving in Anti-Cultism Squad, acting on credible information swooped on the meeting of the cult group on May 28 at about 4:30a.m.
“The command recovered two locally made pistols, seven black berets and a white-coloured, ten litres can, containing liquid substance suspected to be a mixture of palm wine and Indian hemp used for the initiation.
“Ongoing investigation revealed that the suspects are made up of 14 newly initiated and 10 old members of Apache Tigers, popularly known as Black Beret Confraternity. They all confessed to being members of the secret cult group,” he said.
He added that the cult members were among suspects involved in offences of conspiracy, unlawful possession of firearms, ammunition and cult activities within two days in the state by the Police.
Ndukwe added that the command recovered one English-made Berretta pistol with one live round of .9mm calibre ammunition, four locally-made pistols with live cartridges and others from the arrested suspects.
The suspects, according to him, are, Eze Lucky Chinemerem, 27; Igwe Chidimma Jonathan, 22; Ugwu Chiemerie, 22; Agubata Chidera, 22; Abraham Onumah, 28; Abdulraham Suleiman, 21; Chizoba Atu, 23; Sunday Victor, 23; Eneh Chidera, 28; Asadu Ejike Stephen, 25; Eze Chibuzor Emmanuel, 22; Ebuo Tochukwu Victor, 27; Ogbodo Mohammed, 32, and Gabriel Ebubechukwu, 23.
Others are Offia Emeka Emmanuel, 26; Ajoku Leo Chiemeka, 28; Onyekwelu Ugochukwu, 32; Chibuoke Chukwuemeka, 40; Chineke Chibueze, 26; Ugwu Chibuike, 35; Aneke Chidubem, 30; Ozougwu Henry, 29; Aneke Ugochukwu, 31, and Nwali Ikechukwu, 25.
He said that on May 29 at about 11p.m., a combined team of police operatives from Operation Restore Peace and Enugu Metro Area Command, while on routine stop and search duty along Abakaliki Road, Enugu; intercepted a commercial bus.
“The interception of the commercial bus led to the arrest of Obinna Owoh, 22; while two of his cohorts escaped. Search conducted on him led to the recovery of two locally-made pistols with three live cartridges,” he said.
The police spokesman noted that similarly on May 28 at about 5:30p.m., police operatives serving in the Nsukka Sector of the Command’s Crack Squad arrested one Benedict Nwodo, 29, of Ugwuechara in Nsukka.
“His arrest followed a distress call alleging that he was sighted with a gun along CSO Site in Nsukka. One English-made Berretta pistol with one live round of .9mm calibre of ammunition was recovered from him,” he said.
The police spokesman said that all the suspects would be arraigned in court once ongoing investigations are concluded.
He said the state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Lawal Abubakar, had charged police operatives to remain at the top of their games, in view of actualising the command’s quest to purge the state of unrepentant criminal elements.
Ndukwe said, “Members of the public should remain law-abiding, vigilant and continue to assist the Police with credible and timely information/intelligence it requires to clampdown on unrepentant criminal elements in the state.
“This they can do by reporting at the nearest police station or by calling the Command’s emergency hotlines on: 08032003702, 08075390883 or 08086671202.
“Or alternatively send e-mails email@example.com or use the “NPF Rescue App” to make such reports, and rest assured that their identities and the reports shall be accorded utmost confidentiality and necessary action”.