Three alleged members of a kidnapping gang operating in Rivers State have been arrested after unleashing terror for many months on residents of the city of Port Harcourt and Rumuodogbo, in the Emohua local government area of the state.
The suspects, Uzoma Amandi, Uburize Omesi and Onyekachi Amadi, were detained a few weeks ago by officers from the Police Inspector General’s Intelligence Response Team.
City Round learned that the gang’s criminal adventures came to police attention after they beheaded five members of the ONELGA Security Peace Advisory Council, a local watchdog group.
The suspects, who are said to be members of the Icelandic Fellowship, reportedly posted the dismembered body of the victims on social media.
Their mode of operation was to sneak into Rivers from Abia State, kidnap their targets, and take them to their camp in the Chuba area of the state. They would then return to their base in Abia after collecting ransoms.
Police Inspector General Mohammed Adamu was said to have been briefed on the gang’s activities in October 2020, after the gruesome murder of vigilantes in the Rumuodogbo community.
He later ordered the IRT led by DCP Abba Kyari to go after the gang.
A police source told our correspondent that the suspects hail from Rumuodogbo but reside in the city of Aba in Abia state, adding that their targets were primarily people driving flashy cars in intellectual Port Harcourt neighborhoods.
The source said: “Usually they would abandon the cars of the victims. They would transport their victims quickly to their camp in a forest in Chuba. They accepted everything they got as ransom, released their victims, and continued to kidnap others.
“At the end of the week, they would return to the state of Abia, where they all live with their families as ‘responsible’ men. The murder and beheading of the OSPAC vigilantes helped the police gather enough intelligence that led to the arrest of three gang members. “
Speaking to the City Round during the week, Amadi, 21, identified as one of the gang’s leaders, confessed to having participated in seven kidnappings and the murder of the vigilantes.
He said, “I’m a community cyclist. I am married and have a son. One of my friends known as Biggie forced me to join the Icelandic Fellowship. We ventured into kidnapping and I have participated in seven operations. Biggie is our gang leader. We first abducted a woman in Port Harcourt in July 2020 and kept her in Choba for three days.
“Biggie negotiated the ransom. I didn’t know how much they paid me, but he gave me 90,000 shillings. For the second operation, we kidnapped a man in Port Harcourt and brought him to our camp in Chuba. He was released after his family paid a ransom for which I got a share of 150,000 naira.
Regarding the third and fourth operations, Amadi explained that they kidnapped two men separately and received a share of N200,000 of the money we earned both times.
He said they carried out two other operations in the Chuba and Rumumaci areas that reported N130,000 shares.
Amadi added: “My last operation was the kidnapping of an Indian citizen. Agustín brought the work. We kidnapped the man in Rumuola and left him in Chuba. The man spent four days with us and N2m was paid as a ransom. I got 200,000 naira as my share.
“I moved to the city of Aba because I did not want the police to arrest me in Rivers State. Unfortunately, the police tracked me to Aba, where they finally arrested me. “
The suspect admitted that local security guards were assassinated to avenge the alleged murder of Rumuodogbo residents.
He said: “We killed the five OSPAC guards because they killed some people in our community. We beheaded them and ran their heads around our community. We threatened to kill more guards if they did not leave our community. “
In his account, Omesi, 28, also a native of Rumuodogbo, said that the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 lockdown pushed him to join the gang to take care of his wife and two children.
He said: “I am a cyclist. It was a Oneyebuchi who invited me to participate in the kidnapping. I didn’t go out with the team to kidnap victims. I once cared for a victim in the field together with some members. I spent a week with the victim while he was armed with an AK-47 rifle.
“I left the camp after a week because Onyebuchi, who is our boss, refused to provide us with food. I don’t know how the victim was released, but Onyebuchi later gave me N30,000. The police arrested me at my home in Aba ”.