The police in Imo State, Thursday, said they have arrested seven suspected members of the outlawed Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) and its militant wing, ESN, who allegedly killed an inspector of police, Felicia Nwagbara.
Mrs Nwagbara, the slain police inspector, was declared missing in 2017 in Imo State.
The police spokesperson in the state, Michael Abattam, who disclosed this in a statement, said the suspects have confessed to the crime.
Mr Abattam said the police arrested the suspects on Wednesday during an early morning raid at their hideout at Agwa in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State, Nigeria’s South-east.
He said the operatives discovered deadly shrines and a live python used by the suspects to fortify themselves before attacks.
“The hoodlums, on sighting the police operatives, attempted to escape only to discover that the whole escape routes have been saturated with police operatives, hence, they were arrested,” he said.
The police spokesperson said apart from killing the inspector, the suspects had been collaborating with criminals and kidnappers in the state.
Mr Abattam gave the names of the suspects as Casmire Mgbugha, 53, Hycent Chimezie, 30, Hycent Azunna, 28, Hycent Ifesinachi, 26, Hycent Chimobi, 23, Chukwuemeka Wisdom, 22, and Nnadike Clifford, 72, all of them males.
A native doctor, who usually prepared charms for the IPOB members’ fortifications against bullets and knives, was among those arrested, he said.
The raid, he said, followed a tip off that the native doctor, who earlier fled the community, had returned.
According to Mr Abattam, the suspects were also responsible for the killing of another police officer, Ukam Efut, in Oguta, two weeks ago.
Mr Efut, an assistant superintendent of police, was killed and his manhood chopped off at a checkpoint at Okpo-Efi junction, Agwa Ejemekwuru road, where illegal oil refinery activities were reportedly taking place.
“They (the suspects) further stated that they are the manufacturers of the locally made guns recovered from them. Apart from using them in perpetrating crimes, they sell to robbers and kidnappers,” Mr Abattam added.
A Toyota Camry car, eight locally made pistols, 18 rounds of live cartridges, one Biafra flag, and a pair of police camouflage uniforms, said to be that of the late Inspector, were recovered during the operation, according to the police.
The police spokesperson commended the Imo State residents for their “support” and assured them that the police were committed to improving security in the state.