One month after his escape from the Imo State High Court in Owerri, a kidnap ringleader , Henry Chibueze , aka Vampire, has been killed by the police .
A gang member said to be Vampire ’s second -in -command , 26-year -old Obinna Elah, who hails from the Orlu Local Government Area of the state , was however , arrested in a joint operation carried out by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team and the state police command.
Four other members of the gang – Arinze Abecheta 24 , a native of Ohafia in the Isiala Mbano LGA; Chukwu Ebuka Ikeazota 23 , an indigene of Ohohia in the Isiala Mbano LGA ; Clifford Aheana , from Omu Awa village , Rivers State ; and 24 – year -old Samuel Ugochukwu from Ezisno village , in the Arochukwu LGA of Abia State – were also arrested .
A cache of arms and ammunition were reportedly recovered from the suspects.
Some gunmen had on January 27 , 2017 , invaded the court where Vampire was facing trial and freed him and other inmates , injuring many persons in the process.
The state Governor, Rochas Okorocha , had placed a N5m bounty on the kingpin , asking members of the public to avail security agencies of information that could lead to the re-arrest of the 30 – year – old native of Abaja , in the Nwangele
LGA of the state .
It was learnt that the IRT and operatives of the Rivers State Police Command , led by ACP Abba Kyari , laid siege to the kidnappers ’ hideout in Omu Awa Forest in the Ikwerre LGA of Rivers State in the early hours of Thursday .
The kidnappers, on sighting the police , reportedly opened fire, resulting in a gun duel , during which Vampire was killed and three of his members injured . Some policemen also sustained injuries .
A police source disclosed to one of our correspondents that the arrested suspects confessed to have carried out four kidnappings after the rescue of Vampire from the court.
He said , “ The suspects confessed to have rescued Vampire from Imo High Court on January 27 . They also confessed to have executed four successful kidnappings after the rescue of their gang leader.
A police sergeant attached to IRT sustained multiple bullet injuries during the gun battle and has been admitted in a hospital.
“Three of the five arrested suspects sustained bullet injuries. Several AK -47 rifles and ammunition were recovered from the gang. Efforts are ongoing to arrest the remaining gang members. ”
The Imo State Commissioner of Police , Taiwo Lakanu, confirmed the arrest of the suspects to one of correspondents, He said, “ The ringleader was shot dead during the exchange of gunfire .
Five members of his gang were arrested together with arms and ammunition. A combined team of the Inspector- General of Police special squad and operatives of the command engaged the gang .”
The Force Public Relations Officer , CSP Moshood Jimoh, while briefing journalists on the operation , said the gang had carried out kidnap operations in several South -South and South – East states .
The police spokesperson said Vampire had confessed to the murder of his girlfriend , Sandra, and eight members of her family .
“ He alleged that the girlfriend stole his N 45 m share of N 110m ransom paid by the family of one of his victims in Omoku, Rivers State .
He was a serial killer who also confessed to have killed over 200 people in various kidnappings and armed robbery attacks. He claimed responsibility for the murder of Placid Ejimadu , Jonathan Ibemere and Livinus Iwumune , all natives of the Agbaja Nwangele LGA , Imo State .
“ Also , the killing of a member of the Imo State House of Assembly at Orji in 2015; the kidnap / murder of a traditional ruler ’s wife from Mbaise in 2015 whose corpse has not been seen till date ; the kidnap / murder of a man from Malaysia at First Bank branch in Owerri ; and the killing of three members of a family from Nkwerre in 2012 after collecting ransom from the family , were handiwork of Vampire and his gang members .
“ They were responsible for so many kidnap and armed robbery attacks in Imo , Abia , Rivers and Delta states and other states in the South – South and South – East, where several innocent people were killed, ” he said.
The Inspector- General of Police , Ibrahim Idris , said theoperations of the gang were being analysed to get insights to its reach and ensure the arrest of other fleeing members .
Idris , who spoke in Lagos during a police – trainingprogramme on Thursday, said , “ We will go through hisescapades to know those he had killed. He has finished off families ; he has killed innocent people .
This was a criminalthat escaped from the court under gunfire . We have to do everything possible to make sure that those people are not allowed to move freely in the society .
He fired at some of our officers and injured some of them . ”