From EMMANUEL UZOR, Onitsha
Members of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), yesterday smashed a five-man armed robbery gang in the commercial city of Onitsha. The gang was alleged to be responsible for violent crimes along the ever-busy Onitsha Owerri Road before luck ran against them. Parading one of the suspects, Chibuzor, a native of Ebonyi State, who named the fleeing members of the gang, MASSOB Director of Security in charge of Region 4, Mr. Chukwuneke Agoha, said his men were on patrol when they ran into a roadblock mounted by the robbers after they had robbed a trailer driver and several others.
“Our security men were on patrol along Onitsha-Owerri Road around midnight when suddenly they ran into a gang of armed robbers who barricaded the expressway with a spoilt vehicle. Our men who were riding on motorcycles ran into the parked car and fell down and the hoodlums rushed out from their hideout and attacked them and stabbed some of them with bottles and machetes before they called for reinforcement and one of them was arrested while four others escaped.” In his statement, the suspect confessed that he joined the gang about a month ago and had participated in many operations within Onitsha and environs, stating that he met the gang at a motor park where they were sleeping every night.
He said the leader of the gang simply identified as Otu was released from prison about three months ago, saying he initiated him into armed robbery when they met at a joint where they were smoking Indian hemp. Commending the security men for their gallantry, the MASSOB Administrator in charge of Region 4, Chief Arinze Igbani, said the Movement was committed to the task of stamping out criminal elements from the South-East especially armed robbers and kidnappers.
He said MASSOB would continue to hunt down criminals and hand them over to the police in line with the directives of their leader, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, lamenting that the constant clampdown on the members of the group by the army and police, had slowed down their pace and zeal in tackling insecurity in the zone. “We are appealing to Anambra State Government and security agencies to allow MASSOB members a free hand to operate and flush out the criminals in the overall interest of the people.” They should stop seeing us as hoodlums while actually we are helping them to tackle the security challenges which appear to be surmounting the security agencies,” he said. Meanwhile, the suspect had been handed over to the police at Okpoko Police Station for proper investigations.
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