Rivers - The Nigerian Army has arrested three men suspected to be members of a six-man syndicate that assassinated two students of the University of Port Harcourt in Rivers.
The Army Public Relations Officer, 2 Brigade/Sector Two Joint Task Force, Maj. Mike Etete, made the announcement while parading the suspects before newsmen on Sunday in Port Harcourt. Mr. Etete said the suspects had also been fingered as those who assassinated a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member, believed to be serving in the state.
He said that the suspects, (named withheld), were arrested after a stop and search operation was carried out by the Anti-Kidnapping Unit of the Task Force at Rumuochara Village in Choba, near Aluu Community in the state. “Following the killing of three persons at Rumuochara Village in Choba on Oct. 18, a manhunt was launched for the arrest of the gunmen. “At about 1:45 a.m. this morning, troops of the Anti-Kidnapping Unit of the Joint Task Force intercepted four gunmen at Choba Junction. “An exchange of gunfire ensued between the soldiers and gunmen; consequently, one of the gunmen was killed instantly, one was injured and two others escaped with injuries.
“Our soldiers did not sustain any injury in the course of this operation,” he said. Mr. Etete said that after the gun duel with the four suspects, soldiers cordoned-off the area and apprehended two other suspects who allegedly came to support their gang members. He said the suspects were quickly arrested while investigation revealed that the two suspects were supplying arms and ammunition to reinforce their gang members.
The spokesman said that three AK 47 rifles, 272 rounds of 7.2mm live ammunition and 16 magazines were recovered from the suspects. He named other items recovered from the suspects as an ash coloured Toyota Avalon car with registration numbers Kano AG 320 MDG, four Nokia phones and one Blackberry phone and identification cards. Mr. Etete called on the public and hospitals to report persons with gunshot wounds to security agencies in the state. He, however, declined attempt by reporters to speak with the suspects, saying that such move could jeopardise investigations being carried out to arrest two other suspects who escaped.