From Tony John, Port Harcourt

The Rivers State Police Command said it has  apprehended four soldiers for alleged armed robbery, hijacking of food trucks and diverting them to other locations.

The command also said it arrested personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Grace Iringe-Koko, made the disclosure in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, yesterday. She said the command recorded the achievement through thorough investigation after its men earlier  arrested a suspected burglar in a private warehouse in the Elimgbu community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.

The PPRO said two of the first set of operatives arrested, abandoned their duty posts in Delta and Kogi States, respectively, to engage in criminal activities in Rivers State.

Iringe-Koko stated that their confession led to clamping down on other operatives and their civilian accomplices. She added that the four soldiers and the NSCDC operatives confessed to the crime.

The PPRO stated: “Investigations by the Rivers State Police Command, following arrests for attempted burglary, have revealed a wide range of criminal activities. On March 4, 2024, at approximately 11pm, the Rivers State Police Command received a distress call about burglars who were attempting to vandalise warehouses in Elimgbu, owned by Mr. Emmanuel Nwangwu and Mrs. Ndifreke Ekanem.

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“The police promptly mobilised to the scene and arrested five suspects who had been severely beaten by a mob. The wounded suspects were taken to the police hospital as investigations began. During the investigation, it was discovered that one of the suspects, West Isaac (08NA/61/2653), was a corporal in the Nigerian Army serving in Delta State.

“Another suspect, Jabila Kammangar, also known as ‘Kaka,’ was an officer of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps serving in Kabba, Kogi State. They confessed to abandoning their posts to engage in criminal activities in Rivers State due to its lucrativeness.

“Corporal West, a 36-year-old father of four from Buguma, Rivers State, joined the army in 2008 and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion in Warri. He left his base on a sick pass and failed to return even after it expired, remaining absent for over a month until his arrest. West disclosed to the police that he met Kaka while serving in the Army’s Anti-Bunkering Unit, and together, they engaged in several illegal activities. He further revealed that he came to Port Harcourt after receiving a call from Kaka about raiding warehouses, which led to their capture.

“Further investigations revealed that they were part of a larger criminal ring specialised in armed robbery, hijacking, and goods diversion. Corporal West disclosed to the police that he and other army personnel had been key players in the group. Besides ransacking warehouses, they had a network of informants who provided information about the schedules of goods-bearing trailers.

“They (suspects) would then dress in full military gear, lay in wait for the trailers, and accost them with a white Hilux van as they approached. They would intimidate the drivers, assault them, and hand their keys to designated drivers, who would then divert the trailers to waiting receivers.

“Based on his confessional statement, the police were able to track down and arrest Lance Corporal Abdul Musa (13NA/70/10545), Lance Corporal Mgbe Jeoffrey (16NA/75/6896), and Corporal Innocent Okwoli (12NA/68/6552), all personnel of the Nigerian Army.”

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