The Navy Special Forces of the Nigerian Naval Base, Onitsha, Anambra State, has raided a kidnappers’ den in Ochan Forest, killing 10 suspects and arresting five others.
According to the naval base, a number of suspects also escaped with bullet wounds during a gun battle in the forest. Ochan Forest borders Ogwaniocha, Ulli and Ihiala communities in Anambra.
Parading the suspects in Onitsha on Friday, the leader of the naval team, Suleiman Agabi, said the command, based on intelligence, stormed the kidnappers’ hideout around 1.20am on Friday.
Agabi said as soon as the suspects noticed the presence of the team, they opened fire and during the gun duel, “over 10 persons were killed, others escaped with bullet wounds while five of them were arrested.”
Live ammunition, cartridges, guns, charms, among others were reportedly recovered from the victim.
Agabi said, “These criminals have formed a syndicate. They go to communities around the borders, kidnap their traditional rulers and use the ransom to buy guns, prepare charms and maintain their operations.
“We got a report now that some of them have started visiting medical facilities to receive treatment and I have directed members of my team to go round the area, especially at Ihiala and monitor the situation. Some of the suspects have confessed to belong to a group that kidnapped the traditional ruler of Ogwaniocha community and we are trailing their leader.”
The paraded suspects are Amarachi Ibelekwu, Ifeoma Ijegwu, Ibelekwu Onyebuchi, Esononu Ebuka, and Ayankolu Ebulechukwuozu.