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IGP Monitoring Unit bursts notorious kidnappers camp in Rivers

Residents of Etche communities of Rivers State and their neighbouring Ukwa area of Abia state can now heave a sigh of relief, following the raid of a notorious gang camp in the area by men of the Inspector-General of Police monitoring team.

The people have for a long time lived in intense fear of insecurity, following the emergence in the area of a criminal group, led by one Uchenna Okere (a.k.a Togo).

The group who has reportedly held sway in the area have been engulged in all manner of criminality including kidnapping, armed robbery, killing, cultism among others has terrorized the communities to stupor without challenge.

However help came to the residents last Friday following a midnight raid of his camp by the IG monitoring unit in the state led by Ben Igwe, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP).

The operation reportedly led to the rescue of a 17 year old daughter of a traditional ruler in Etcheland who was in the criminals custody for more than two weeks.

The men also arrested a member of the gang and recovered arms and live bullets.

Speaking to the nation, shortly after parading the suspects, Igwe said residents of the community were joyful over the police operations in the areas, saying that it was the first time police or any other security agency has come to their aide, since the uprising of Togo and his notorious gang in the place, adding that the exercise would bring about relative peace and security in Etched and it’s environs.

He said, “If you know the joy if the people over the raiding you will understand that they have been living in great fear of insecurity in the place.

“There is a notorious kidnapper, cultist, killer, name Uchenna Ekere (a. k. a. Togo), from Umuoko Etche, where he also built his camp, following a tip-off on the kidnap of the daughter of the traditional ruler of the area and that the people are helpless even when they suspected that the missing girl must be in his custody.

“Following the outcry, we left for the community about 1:am Saturday morning when we located their hideout, he engaged the police to a gun battle we over powered them, they escaped we went in arrested one of them (Gift), and rescued the victim and recovers two guns and ammunition." 

He however vowed that the unit will not rest on its oars until Togo and other members of his gang are apprehended and peace is restored to the area.

“It is not yet over, we will continue to comb the area until the kingpin and his members were arrested. They have ran away but relative peace have return to the communities around there, even parts of Ukwa area of Abia state, where he holds way. He is referred to there as governor, and harvests levy from all the markets in that axis in each market day, we must make sure that his illegal reign in the area comes to an end and people there liberated,” he stressed.

In a separate chat with the suspects, each denied the alleged involvement with the criminality of Togo and his men.

The suspect said to be arrested from the burst camp, Gift Nnodim said said, “I am from Umuokom Etche, I am 21 years old, I live at Umuokiri Aluu in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state, I am a training in welding.

“I travelled home last Sunday to assist my mother to harvest Palm fruits. This morning (yesterday), while I was in my compound with other members of my family, the policemen came and held me. They did not tell me what my offence was,” he said.

Asked his relationship with one Togo, the notorious criminal, admitted that he is his kinsman, and a renowned culists.

Asked his connection with the cultist vowed no involvement with him and his activities, adding that “If my phone is here right now, you would have dialed Togo’s number and confirm whether or not it is stored in my phone, at least if I have any dealings with him, his phone number willl be in phone,” he noted.

Also speaking another suspect, Chidiadi James (22) a hair barber, narrating how he was arrested, said, “I was arrested from bed this morning.” he said that he was arrested about 6: am Saturday.

Narrating her ordeal in the hands of her abductors, the victim said she was beating, tied up and left in the custody if armed men, but denied any form of assault on her.

In her words, “I was coming back from school, when they accused me with a motor bike and took me away to far away village from where I was kidnapped. There were 15 of them. They were taking me from one house to the other, one village to another. They did not take me to their camp in the forest, but one of them pointed to me the direction of their camp.

“When we got to the first house, they asked me to release the contact number of my father I told them that I am an orphan, they now said, then you will be here and be cooking for them.”

Asked if all she was doing in the over two weeks she was with them was to cook for them, said she was not untied anyway to cook.

“I was beaten severally, blindfolded at some point and threatened with death. Some of the boys also threatened to rape me, this sparked heated argument among them, that they almost fought each other, but they later did not touch me.”

Asked if she was fed by the kidnappers said, she was barely fed, and that she eats only when food was given to her adding that the stepple meal there was indomie noddles.

To her, her parents were not aware of her whereabouts having exhausted all their links to no avail.