Army arrest killer gangs in Port Harcourt, recover arms
The Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi has commended the state Joint Security Taskforce on the arrest Thursday evening of about five persons with three AK-47 riffles, ammunitions and assorted Indian hemp at ‘Barracks’, behind Wimpey in Rumueme area of Port Harcourt.
According to a statement issued by David Iyofor, the Chief Press Secretary, CPS, indicates that those arrested are likely hired thugs with arms and ammunition to be used to unleash violence on voters and innocent citizens before or during the gubernatorial elections on Saturday.
Amaechi hailed the security agencies on the arrest and urged voters and the people of Rivers state to remain calm and peaceful as the Joint security Taskforce in the state has assured him that they are poised to ensure a peaceful, violence free elections; and the safety of lives and property before, during and after the elections.
The statement further said that the Governor Amaechi called on Rivers voters to come out en masse on Saturday to vote as their safety and security is assured.
“It was learnt that men of the Nigeria Army today staged a safe operation to curtail criminal activities in the Rumueme-Rumueprikom-Oroazi areas in Obio/Akpor local government of Rivers state.
“The operation which started about 2:00 pm, was targeted at flushing armed criminal elements that have been disturbing the peace of the area,” the statement said.
But it was also gathered that the manhunt for the criminals was based on the military review of the killing of one of their men on March 28 during the presidential and national assembly elections.
The dead soldier was reported to have been shot dead by a band of militia men terrorizing Port Harcourt. The operation was carried out to arrest growing violence and proliferation of illegal arms and weapons in the areas.
An eyewitness said that several persons believed to be thugs and militia working for a political party that has practically over-run those areas by coercion and threats, were arrested.
Men of the Nigerian Army had reportedly come under heavy gunfire on the day of the previous national polls, during which a soldier was gunned down. Brig.-Gen. Koko Essien, Brigade Commander, 2 Amphibious Brigade, Port Harcourt, confirmed the loss of the soldier.
While Thursday’s operations were on, an eyewitness said that several henchmen in the militia community allegedly working for a certain governorship candidate, who were harboured in a hotel located close to a popular church in Oroazi that belongs to a former council chairman, were seen running away afraid from the soldiers that stormed the hotel.
Meanwhile, calm has returned to the area. However, unauthorized persons have been warned against wearing any army uniform on the election day.