The Police in Enugu state have arrested 13 suspected armed robbers and 20 suspected cult members within the last five days in the state.
The command recovered seven rifles, five live cartridge, one live and two expended ammunition as well as nine handsets, one tricycle, one motorcycle, two laptops and charm from the armed robbery suspects.
Presenting the suspects on Monday in Enugu to newsmen, the state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Ahmed Abdurrahman, said that the new strategy already deployed had been yielding positive results.
Abdurrahman, who assumed office a week ago, noted that most of the arrests were made through intelligence report and tip-off from public-spirited individuals to the police.
“Following the recent face-off between Vikings and Black Axe Cult groups, which led to many killings at Nsukka, a suspect, one Tochukwu Ugwu, was arrested recently at Orba in Nsukka.
“The suspect belongs to Vikings confraternity and once the Coordinator of Vikings in Nsukka.
“A berretta pistol, one locally-made pistol, one cut to size locally-made single barrel gun, one military bullet proof and one arrow De Norsemen black cap and Kangaroo cap were recovered from him alone,’’ he said.
The commissioner also said that operative of the Command’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) also arrested 10 notorious armed robbery suspects disturbing the peace of various communities in the outskirt of Enugu metropolis.
He disclosed that a number of locally-made rifles as well as a charm were recovered from them too; while investigation to further unravel their nefarious activities had commenced.
“Also, on Sept. 7; Emmanuel Okoro and one other were arrested at Aria Road, Enugu on information that the suspects were robbing a victim with a toy gun and exploded knock-out.
“A handset and N14,520 were recovered from them and they are still been investigated to track down other members of their gang,’’ he said.
The commissioner said that the suspected cultists were arrested on Sept. 7 following information received by the Command’s operatives.
Abdurrahman alleged that the suspected cultists are suspected to be Vikings Confraternity Norsemen, who had been holding their meeting at De Castle Resort, G.R.A. Enugu.
“They confessed to be members of De Norsemen; and banner with symbols/logos of Norsemen as well as water proof envelopes containing documents and paper presented by Barrister Henry Oputa.
“They have disguised themselves as a very simple organisation and gone to Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to register as a charitable orgainsaition; while earlier Tochukwu Ugwu, Coordinator of Vikings in Nsukka, had identified some of them to be his members,’’ he said.
He said that most of the suspected cultists, whose investigations had been concluded, would be charged to court immediately; while others would be further investigated to know their level of involvement in crimes in the state.
“We are working to ensure a safe and secured environment in the state and it seems all the crimes and suspected criminals arrested had one link or the other to cultism,’’ he said.
However, Okenwa Uka, who spoke on behalf of the 20 suspected cultists, said that De Norsemen club Incorporated was a duly registered organisation in the CAC, with registration number RC 7458.
“We are a notable, charitable and responsible organisation with illustrious members worldwide and we have nothing to do with cultism or crime as alleged by the police authorities.
“We are ready to challenge the police that disrupted our conference being held peaceful in Enugu on Sept. 7 as well as labeling us, with arrays of professionals, as cultists,’’ Uka said.