Suspected militants have kidnapped four missionaries in Delta State, according to the state Police Commissioner, Zanna Ibrahim, who addressed journalists, Tuesday in Asaba, however, said an anti-kidnapping team was already on the trail of the suspects.
He explained that intelligence revealed that the kidnappers, a five-man armed gang stormed Enukorowa creek community in Burutu Local Government Area and kidnapped four foreign missionaries. They are Dr. David Donavan, Chilly Donavan, Alana (surname unknown), and Tyan (surname unknown) who were engaged in preaching, and giving free medical treatment in the area in the last three years.
The police commissioner added that the kidnap may not be unconnected with the current onslaught on militant activities embarked upon by the military in their “Operation Crocodile Smile”, saying that efforts were being made in conjunction with the Joint Taskforce (JTF) towards rescuing the victims.
The Police Commissioner who paraded no few than 43 kidnap/robbery/ murder suspects said that the crime rate which used to be very high in the state had declined considerably, noting that successes that had been recorded over the years were made possible by efforts from intelligence gathering.The police disclosed that four kidnap suspects were recently arrested in connection with the kidnap of one Ruth Edemagbata, a 19-year-old resident of Isioghe Street, Ozoro.
The police boss explained that on July 19, one Felicia Oyibo, the mother of the victim, Ruth Edemogbata, returned from market with her Toyota Rav 4 Jeep with registration number KSF182DC, and when her daughter (victim) came out of their house to welcome her, a kidnap syndicate accosted them at gun point and kidnapped her into the Rav 4 Jeep, before they zoomed off to an unknown destination.
“We intensified search for the kidnappers, and three persons, Friday Joe, Rukevwe Emeka and Oghenevo Odirome were arrested by Eagles-net Patrol Team of the police in connection with the case, and the suspects, upon interrogation, confessed to committing the crime and made useful statements to the police that led to the arrest of members of the earlier mentioned gang,” the police chief added.
He said that some suspects had been arrested in connection with the kidnap of one Emeka Chimaokwu (64) in Housing Estate, Asaba.According to Ibrahim, Chimaokwu was kidnapped by unknown armed men along Idumuje Unor Road, Issele-Uku. He said the police, acting on a tip-off, tracked the victim’s phone and a suspect from Kogi State who was arrested confessed upon interrogation to the crime and mentioned the names of his gang members.
According to Ibrahim, the suspects led the investigating team to the bush where the decomposing body of the victim was found hidden with bamboo leaves inside a forest at Atuma Quarters, Idumuje-Unor after he was strangled to death. The body of the victim has been deposited at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Asaba for autopsy.
The suspects were said to have also confessed to the kidnap of one Engineer Charles Chukwuemeka Eze on May 22, 2017 along Idumuje-Unor -Idumuje-Ugboko Road, and Rev Fr. Andrew Annah of the Sacred Catholic Church, Obomkpa on August 8 along Obomkpa-Issele Uku Road.
On robbery, the police commissioner said that three persons all of Nnamdi Block Industry, Express Road Issele-Uku were arrested in connection with a robbery attack on one Chibueze Okocha (40) of Idumuje-Unor.
One of the suspects reported at Issele-Uku Divisional Police headquarters that the manager of his filing station along Benin/Asaba Expressway, Issele-Uku, whose name he gave as Chibueze Okocha was found dead behind the filling station, and that the only guard on duty absconded with his belongings overnight to far away Langtang in Plateau State.
He said that two of the suspects had made confessional statements admitting that they committed the crime and were under investigation.