Amby Uneze in Owerri
The unexpected happened, Friday morning at the Owerri high court premises as unknown gunmen stormed the complex in a commando style and sacked everybody on sight by the sound of their sophisticated gunshots and rescued a notorious kidnapping kingpin, Henry Chibueze, (alias Vampire) and two others.
In the ensued milieu, about five prison officials who led the suspects to the court premise received serious gun shots wounds and were rushed to the hospital.
The suspect who was arrested by the Department of Security Services (DSS) in 2015 after about five years of unsuccessful manhunt has been reminded in prison custody when the case was taken to court.
According to an eye witness account, the gunmen laid siege in the court premises waiting for the arrival of their target and as soon as the vehicle that brought the suspects alighted and were about to be led to the court room by some prison officials, they struck, shooting sporadically in the court arena.
Information also had it that even the suspect, Vampire had to utilise the opportunity created for him to snatch a gun from one of the prison officials together with the one the gunmen gave to him and started shoot sporadically.
THISDAY also gathered that the gunmen must have made their way into the court premises through one the exit gates along Orlu road and carefully avoided the major entrance of the court premises which already had a stationed military armoured tank that were usually manned by military men.
One fact that is clear is that the court premises is located right at the middle of the city having Imo State Government House in front, the State Police Command, The State Prison Command, the former office of the DSS and the residence of the Brigade Commander of 34 Brigade, Obinze surrounded the court premises.
When contacted, the Imo state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Taiwo Lakanu said that even though it was not the police that was prosecuting the case, he personally led other officers to rescue operation to the scene of the incident when the shooting was on before the gunmen took to their heels.
Every effort made to contact the State Controller of Prisons or the Prisons Public Relations Officer was proved abortive as the cell phones rang without it being picked.
It would be recalled that the arrest of Vampire who had hitherto terrorized, kidnapped, and killed over 300 innocent individuals in both the South East and South South geo-political zones was celebrated by the state governor Rochas Okorocha.
Before his arrested in 2015 he had previously indulged in several kidnappings which eventually led his being nabbed in a house of a close relation at Ohafia, Abia State.
Vampire (28) who had confessed to have been involved in several kidnappings in various parts of the country, said that he operated from Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire, and other west African countries.
Fielding questions from the state Governor Chief Rochas Okorocha who personally subjected the suspect to a rigourous interrogation (Vampire) disclosed that he had collected a whopping sum of N110 million from one of his victims in Rivers State and thereafter killed him.
Shedding more light on his nefarious activities, Vampire who always looking unruffled even while in prison custody also admitted to have abducted an official of the Imo State Environmental Transformation Commission, ENTRACO (name withheld) equally collected sum of N50 million, even as he similarly murdered the victim.
Furthermore, the seemingly unrepentant Vampire said that he murdered his girlfriend for allegedly stealing the sum of N45 million belonging to him.