UNBELIEVABLE: 55 Suspected Criminals  Escape From Police Command Custody - Penangle | News Portal in Nigeria
Sun. Jun 16th, 2024
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At least 55 suspects arrested on Saturday afternoon at one of the flash points in Effium community, Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi State by a combined team of Police and Army following the lingering communal war between the people of Effium and Ezza Effium in the community, have reportedly escape from police custody.

The suspected criminals were arrested at Okpuduma village of the community with arms and charms during the raid of the area by General Commander, 82 Division of the Nigeria Army, Major-General Taoreen Lagbaja.

Lagbaja, who was on operational visit to the community following persistent killings, shootings and burning of houses in troubled community, was led by other top Army officers, the state Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Garba and his special team, the State Deputy Governor Dr. Kelechi Igwe, the State Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace, Stanley Emegha among other government officials, facilitated the arrest of the suspected criminals who were seen in the deserted village.

The suspects were rounded up and security agents in the area searched the places they were spotted and recovered some arms and ammunitions, including charms.

After the arrest of the suspects and recovery of the arms and charms, the GOC and the team proceeded to Nwekendiagu village in the community for same operation while the suspects were handed over to the police by the GOC for movement to Police Headquarters in Abakaliki for further interrogation.

However, immediately the team left the community, information filtered in that 55 out the 66 suspected criminals  escaped from custody and their whereabouts is still unknown as of the time of filing this report.

Speaking on the escape of the suspects, the State Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace, Stanley Emegha described it as a sabotage on the part of security agencies.

He accused the security agents who were in charge of the custody of the suspects of aiding their escape and threatened that the government would be forced to use the state vigilantes to end the persistent hostilities in the community.

“Our visit today was a major breakthrough by arresting those people but it was very unfortunate that 55 out of the 66 escaped; security agencies that were saddled with the responsibility of guarding those people to Abakaliki capital city, compromised, as we moved, they released them and the Governor, through the Deputy Governor, has demanded for an explanation from the CP and the Commanding Officer.”

“The Commissioner of Police was there, he saw them. It was my insistence that those people must be arrested, that these are the warriors and they shouldn’t be allowed to stay in the community. So, it is a compromise on the part of the security. The reason why we have been having this problem in Effium is because the security has compromised. What happened this afternoon is very clear to every body that they have compromised”, he said

Earlier, GOC 82 Division, Major-General Lagabaja said he was in the community to stop the hostilities.

When contacted, the state CP, Garba dismissed the claim that there was compromise on the part of the police,
acknowledging that the arrested 66 suspects were no longer complete but refused to comment further on their escape.

The people of Effium and Ezza Effium have been at war since January this year with over 800 persons including pregnant women and babies killed and many properties burnt to ashes by suspected warlods.

On Thursday last week, Governor Dave Umahi visited the community for the second time following the persistent hostilities but shooting on that day, forced him out of the community.

Following this, the governor declared a dusk to dawn curfew in the community with additional 150 soldiers and 120 mobile Policemen deployed to the community to prevent further hostility in the troubled community.

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