The Nigerian Army says it has arrested about 86 suspected high-profile criminals in the South East and Cross River in the ongoing “Exercise Atilogwu Udo 1’’.
Aliyu Yusuf, Deputy Director, Public Relations of 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Enugu.
Mr Yusuf, a colonel, said the suspects were handed over to relevant security agencies for further action.
He said that the arrests were made between Nov.1 and Dec.24 adding that the exercise recorded lots of achievements.
He said that the exercise was aimed at combating kidnapping, cultism, armed robbery, drug peddling, secessionist activities, bunkering and other criminal activities as well as providing humanitarian services in some host communities.
“Troops of sector 1, in 13 Brigade, Calabar, arrested a total of 38 suspects in its Area of Responsibility (AOR). The latest arrest occurred on Dec. 6, when troops conducted snap checkpoint in Obubra Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
“During the operation, three suspects who were riding on a motorcycle at Okuni village in Ikom LGA immediately abandoned their motorcycle and fled on sighting the troops.
“The troops pursued and apprehended one Mr Francis Ibiang, items recovered from him include one locally made pistol, one cartridge, a machete, two mobile phones, assorted charms and N4,500 cash, he has been handed over to the police for further action,’’ he said.
The spokesman for the army said that troops of sector 2 in Abia on Nov. 19, arrested four suspected IPOB members in Aba market selling proscribed Biafra newspapers.
He gave their names as- Sunday Elom, Martins Ogwuchukwu, Chineme Obiechifula and Innocent Mike.
“Following a distress call from Chief Security Officer (CSO) Abia State Polytechnic, Asa; troops in conjunction with security agencies arrested cult members suspected to be of Klain Men group, the suspects are- Stanley Kelechi, Kalu Ihechi, Okoro Prince and Chiemeka Nwosu,’’ he said.
Mr Yusuf said that on Nov. 19 in sector 3 under AOR of 34 Brigade, Owerri; troops arrested three suspected vandals in three buses with suspected illegally refined AGO.
“The suspects were arrested following a tip-off after vandalising a pipeline and evacuating the contents at Umuapu along Owerri-Port Harcourt road.
“The troops also arrested one suspected illegal oil dealer, Mr Emmanuel Okechukwu with five drums filled with illegally refined AGO in a Mercedes Benz along Owerri-Port Harcourt road,’’ he said.
He said that in sector 4 in Anambra State, troops while on patrol at Dunukofia along Onitsha-Awka road intercepted suspected gun-runner, Mr Leonard Asowgua who is a Jos-based businessman, with two pump action guns, 25 cartridges and two cell phones.
“Also, troops acting on a tip-off raided suspected drug peddlers’ hideout at Amansea and Umudioka general area and arrested 21 suspected dealers with varying quantity of suspected drugs.
“On Nov. 19 troops in conjunction with security agencies conducted raid to flush out kidnappers and criminal elements hibernating in Ajalli–Umumba Forest in Udi LGA of Enugu State.
“Troops around Nsukka–Ukehi Road general area arrested Mr Oluchi Ugwu who is a suspected notorious drug peddler, and recovered one bag of weed suspected to be hemp,’’ he said.
Mr Yusuf said that troops of sector 6 in Abakaliki arrested a suspected gang of wanted criminals terrorising the whole of Ezza South LGA of Ebonyi State.
“The suspects are Success George,18; Noble Mbam,20; Emeka Ugo,20 and Aja Anayochukwu, 20.
“Their arrest also led to the arrest of one Mr Imeze Joseph who buys stolen items from them and at the point of his arrest, one suspected stolen plasma TV was recovered from him,’’ he added.