By Chidiebube Okeoma , Owerri
The Federal Special Anti -Robbery Squad of the Imo State Police Command has killed three suspected kidnappers in the state.
Operatives of FSARS , who engaged the alleged kidnap kingpins in a gun battle in one of their hideouts at Atta , in the Njaba Local Government Area of the state on Saturday , also apprehended three others .
The state Police Public Relations Officer , Andrew Enwerem , who addressed journalists when the corpses of the slain suspects were brought to the command headquarters in Owerri , the state capital, said the gang was the most dreaded after the reign of late kingpin , Henry Nwabueze , aka Vampire .
Enwerem said the gang used special number plates during operations , adding that two of the six kidnappers were hardened ex -convicts who had served between seven to eight years’ jail terms at the Owerri Federal Prisons for armed robbery .
The police spokesperson gave the names of the suspects who were captured alive as Chinwendu Sylvester , 24 , from the Mbano LGA ; Chidera Nzeagwu , 28, from Ogbaku , in the Mbaitoli LGA ; and Chetachi Ogbenna , 36, from Amuzu , in the Obingwa LGA of Abia State .
According to Enwerem , the police had been on the trails of the suspects for a long time .
He said some of the suspects, who were arrested at different locations , led FSARS operatives to their hideout at Atta .
He said , “ The command , under the strategic coordination of the Commissioner of Police , Chris Ezike , has arrested the most wanted kidnap syndicate in the state .
“ Operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the command, led by the Commander , SP Godfrey Victor, had arrested three of the kidnappers at different locations in the state .
“ The three suspects led us to one of their hideouts at Atta in Imo State. On sighting our men, the four kidnappers in the hideout opened fire on them .
“ In the ensuing gun duel , three of them lost their lives , while one , whose identity was given as Ifeanyi , fled .”
Exhibits recovered from the gang , according to the police spokesperson , are one Prado Jeep with number plate , PF1843 SPY, a Volkswagen Jetta, three expended cartridges, two AK -47 rifles , 20 live cartridges, one pump -action gun , a bottle filled with charms and the sum of N390 ,000 .
One of the suspects, Nzeagwu , an ex -convict, said they operated in Onitsha , Enugu and Rivers states , but made Imo State their base because it was where victims were kept until ransoms were paid.
The suspect , who said his role in the gang was to drive victims to their den , said Sylvester and Ogbenna were assigned to watch over the victims until their relatives brought ransoms.
He said , “ I am a mechanic . My job was to drive the victims to the hideout at Atta . Sylvester and Ogbenna watched over them . Boss ( one of the killed kingpins) was the owner of the Prado Jeep, while he bought the Volkswagen Jetta for me for the business .
“ When we got ransoms , he gave us according to the role we played. When one of our victims paid N2 m , he gave me about N380 ,000 . Since December 2017, he had given me above N600 ,000 in all the operations .”
A source in the command confided in our correspondent that one of the killed kingpins was a multimillionaire.
“ It was unfortunate that we couldn ’t capture him alive . He was a multimillionaire. He bought cars which he distributed in communities where he received chieftaincy titles.
“ We have laid hands on some vital documents which will aid us in our investigations. The CP wants a clean job . Three are dead and three are alive . But we believe that they have accomplices and we are going after them ,” the police source said .