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Bayelsa Police arrest Army deserter, 49 others


Solomon Arase


AUTHORITIES of the Bayelsa State Police Command yesterday dismissed as “untrue” the claims by the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) that policemen engaged in indiscriminate arrest of innocent people in the State, noting that the routine raids and stop and search operations have led to the arrest of a military deserter and 49 other persons over alleged involvement in armed robbery and other violent crimes in the state.

According to the spokesman of the Police Command, Mr. Astimin Butswat, the military deserter, identified as 28-year-old Yenabo Presido from the Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Council of the State and his accomplice, 22-year- old ThankGod Victor from Ogoni area of Rivers State, were arrested along the Sani Abacha way of the Bayelsa State capital.

According to Butswat, the army deserter reportedly confessed that the assault rifle found in his possession was stolen from a Boko Haram camp in the North Eastern State where he had served.

Also found in his possession was aToyota Highlander SUV stolen from Port Harcourt, Rivers State. On the alleged indiscriminate arrest of persons in Bayelsa State capital, the Police spokesman said though the Command’s attention has been drawn to the claims that some policemen in the Command engage in illegal arrest and detention of persons through unwholesome practices, the raids are operational strategies deployed to combat crime in the state.

According to him: “The Police Command has recorded successes in the recent past through raiding. For instance, policemen from Yenagoa Division, on the July 31, 2015 at about 9:45pm, arrested one Godsgift Isaac,  while conducting intensive raids along DSP Alamieyesegha Road, Yenagoa.

The suspect is a member of a six-man armed robbery gang, who had earlier robbed and shot one Abiodun Dauda, under his forearm and inflicted machete cuts on his forehead on the July 29, 2015,at about 7pm,along Harbour Road, Yenagoa.” “The victim, Abiodun Dauda, who was robbed of N35, 000 and two handsets, identified the suspect and the suspect admitted to the crime.

The suspect identified other members of the gang as one Hunchback Nodfeh, one ThankGod, surname unknown and upon interrogation, one Owei Prince aka ‘Fela’ and Joel Seibokuro were arrested at a criminal hideout, while one Akpoi is still at large.” “These feats couldn’t have been easily achieved without raids.

As at now the Command has a total number of 50 armed robbery suspects, who were on the wanted list, but were arrested through raiding and six suspected rapist who were on the run, but were later apprehended through raiding.

The Command has equally warned policemen to desist from extorting money from members of the public in the course of discharging their official duties. Members of the public are advised to channel complaints of Police excesses to these dedicated phone numbers: 07034578208; 08032789712,” he said.

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