The police in Enugu yesterday paraded 22 suspected criminals among whom was a boy who allegedly falsely declared himself to have been kidnapped in order to extort money from his parents.
Hundreds of on-lookers rushed to the police officers mess Enugu where the suspects were paraded to catch a glimpse of the fake kidnap victim whose name was given as suspect Obinna Mmereole.
He was said to have caused himself to disappear into hiding with the aide of two friends, he started calling his mother claiming that he had been kidnapped and that his captors were demanding N1.5m before he would be released. The names of his suspected accomplices were given as Ibe Chinonso and Igwe Ikechukwu.
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Enugu State Police Commissioner Mohammed Zarewa who paraded the suspects said the plot backfired when police swooped on them as they were attempting to cash the ransom at a bank where they demanded that the money should be paid.
Also picked up by the security operatives were 19 persons suspected to be armed robbers and kidnappers with Zarewa explaining that the suspected criminals were arrested at various locations in Enugu.
He said that one of the suspected kidnappers was involved in the abduction of a prominent Anambra State businessman while some of the robbery suspects allegedly killed a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in Awka and later attacked the convoy of Delta State Commissioner of Police.
He said the suspected robbers had confessed to bank robberies and attack of bullion vans in the south east and South south states including a raid in Edo state during which a police DPO and Divisional crime officer were killed.
Among the items recovered from the suspects were two AK 47 Rifles, on pistol, One Toyota Avensis Car and One Mazda 363 model. Others were 450 rounds of live ammunition and two handcuff keys and one handcuff.
The Police boss warned that his command would not leave stone unturned in combating crime in the coal city state, adding that he was happy that crime has reduced in the state as compared to other states in the Southeast geo-political zone.
"Relatively, crime rate has reduced in Enugu State compared to Ebonyi, Anambra and other states in the Southeast zone. We will not relent in our efforts to combat crime in the state. What we need is cooperation from members of the public. We are battle ready to wipe out kidnapping, robbery and other anti-social vices in the state", he added.