The Police have confirmed the arrest of 16 suspects over alleged complicity in series of violent attacks on security operatives and facilities across the country.
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr Frank Mba, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
He said that the arrest was an outcome of painstaking, deliberate and tireless efforts by Police operatives, working in collaboration with their counterparts from the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Air Force.
“The collaboration was to bring to justice, persons responsible for the emerging trend of attacks on security personnel and wanton destruction of security facilities and operational assets.
“Twelve of the suspects were implicated, during Police investigation, in multiple felonies committed across several states in the South-Eastern part of the federation.
“The suspects were arrested in different parts of the country following sustained and intelligence-driven sting operations.
“Police investigation clearly established and linked the suspects to several incidents of attacks and murder of security personnel.
“The suspects have also been linked to stealing, unlawful possession of firearms, arson and malicious damage to operational assets of military and law enforcement agents.
“Investigation showed that two of the suspects were among the criminal elements that attacked Policemen on duty at a checkpoint on Dec. 24, 2020 along Orlu-Ihiala Road in Imo,” he said.
Mba recalled that two Police officers were killed and a Police Hilux patrol van set ablaze in that incident.
He disclosed that two of the suspects, a Pastor and a Prophet, were arrested for allegedly masterminding the various attacks on security personnel and providing spiritual cover for the gang.
He alleged that one of the suspects’ house was used by the gang to plan their nefarious operations after donating his late brother’s farmland for use as a hideout and training camp.
Mba listed items recovered from the suspects to include nine AK47 rifles, five other sophisticated firearms, and 17 AK47 magazines.
Others were 549 AK47 live ammunition, 10 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), camouflage bulletproof vests, walkie-talkies, and other incriminating items.
He quoted the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, as reiterating that the Force would not tolerate any further attack on its personnel or any citizen by any individual or group under any guise.
Mba added that law enforcement agents had gathered sufficient intelligence on the attackers and were closing up on scores of suspects already implicated either directly or indirectly.
“Some suspects are financing, aiding and abetting the criminals. We are already after them. No one will be spared,” he said.