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Ex-soldier, nine others arrested in Enugu for murder, armed robbery

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The suspects

Barely days after the police arrested some serving and dismissed soldiers among suspects over the attack on a bullion van that led to the death of four cops in Ebonyi State, the Enugu State police command yesterday paraded another dismissed soldier and nine others for various criminal activities in the state.

The state’s Commissioner of Police, Abdurahman Mohammed, said the suspects were arrested for murder, conspiracy, armed robbery, cultism and other offences within July.

He said the dismissed soldier, whose name was given as Ifesinachi Nwankwo, aged 24, joined the Nigerian Army in 2017 and served in Damboa, Maiduguri, Borno State. He added that the soldier went on AWOL after his base came under constant Boko Haram attacks in 2018.

The commissioner further revealed that the soldier-turned-armed-robber was arrested alongside one of his gang members, Raphael Nworie, aged 27.

He revealed that the duo and others at large were responsible for the murder of Ominyi Chukwu, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, after they attacked Ozalla Division of the command at Agro-Allied Product Filling Station on the Obe/Agbani Road, Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State.

They had allegedly carted away two assault rifles and injured an Inspector of Police, Princewill Ebiriem, after the attack.

They also attacked and killed the Chief Security Officer of Amodu-Awkunanaw community, Onyebuchi Aninwagu, on July 19, 2020, and were alleged to have also made away with his pump-action rifle.

The police boss added that the arrests were due to intelligence and robust collaboration with other security agencies, including neighborhood watch groups and other stakeholders.

He said: “It is expedient to say that these achievements were made possible by intelligence and robust collaboration with other security agencies, local security outfits like the neighborhood watch groups in the state, stakeholders and the general public as well as unalloyed loyalty, dedication and diligence of officers and men of the command.”

Items recovered from the suspects include six firearms, an AK-47 rifle, 15 ammunition, 36 live cartridges, one TV set, one mobile phone and one cutlass.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army yesterday disclosed that the two ‘soldiers’ who were among seven suspects arrested in connection with a deadly bullion van robbery in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, on July 29 are not its personnel.

In a statement issued to reporters in Enugu, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 82 Division, Col Aliyu Yusuf, said the suspects were already dismissed and are not serving in any of its units, commands, formations or divisions.

“It is necessary to inform the public that the so-called soldiers in the report are not personnel of the Nigerian Army since 2015 and 2018; when both Corporal Ayeni Samuel and Corporal Emeka Harrison were dismissed. Available record shows that Corporal Ayeni Samuel, 03NA/53/088, was dismissed in 2018 for desertion and pipeline vandalism at 174 Battalion.”


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