Bayelsa State Police Command is now at loggerheads with Korean construction and engineering giant, Hyundai Heavy Industry over the payment of N30 million as ransom for the release of six management staff of the company - four Korean and two Nigerians by kidnappers in the Niger Delta.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Kingsley Omire, who said police investigation had arrested some suspects prior to the payment of the ransom, said he was angry that the ransom was paid without the consent of the command.
The kidnapped Korean workers Joon Suk, Jing Kim ,Hi Kim, Doo Lee and Austin Giwa were released on December 21 along Azikoro Creek in Yenagoa Local Government of the state, after the payment.
Omire said suspects linked with the abduction of the construction workers on December 17 were Romeo Egbo, Goodnews Amabebe, Dito Ologbo and Digiteme Itua (Alias Seko).
He also said the kidnap gang was also responsible for the abduction of the Paramount Ruler of Okordia Clan, Yenagoa Local Government of the state, King Seiba, Simeon Lalapu on August 25 was in the custody of the command.
Omire said following the confessions made by Itua, who claimed that he had four AK 47 and several rounds of ammunition at Ogboinbiri community in South Ijaw Local Government, the police still went with Itua and Egbo for Ogboinbiri in order to recover the arms.
The police commissioner, who spoke in Yenagoa, while parading the three kidnap suspects, stressed that Itua and Egbo escaped into the swamp from the gunboat used by the Police during a gun battle with his colleagues at Ogbodobiri in Southern Local government area of the state.
He said the gunmen opened fire on the boat leading to the exchange of bullets between the police and the gunmen.
“On interrogation, three of the suspects voluntarily confessed to kidnapping the four Koreans and two Nigerians on December 17. They also disclosed to us that one Digiteme Itua alias Seko is the leader of the kidnap gang. At about 12 midnight operatives of this command left for Odioma for the arrest of Itua.
“Itua was arrested in his Odioma house in Brass at about 1.30am .One AK 47 rifle, 60 rounds of ammunition, a telescope and three magazines were recovered from his house. Before he could get possession of his charms, operatives were able to dispossess him of his charms and he was brought here to Yenagoa,” he said.
Omire said it was a large scale operation where the Police utilised two gun boats and so many operatives, which he described as a very successful operation.
The Commissioner said the second suspect fondly called Super and linked with the kidnap of the Okordia king was still at large, noting that the Police was on his trail to track him down.