Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The police in Bayelsa thursday paraded 24 suspected kidnappers, armed robbers and cultists who they said had made the state capital uncomfortable for residents in the last two months.
Also recovered from the suspects were several arms and ammunition ranging from locally made pistols, live cartridges , battle axes and a stolen Toyota Camry vehicle.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Asuquo Amba, told journalists that his command had reviewed its crime fighting strategy in the last couple of weeks, leading to the several successes that were achieved.
Part of the strategy, Amba said, was the intensification of patrols and surveillance, visibility policing and the encouragement of active participation of neighbourhood vigilante groups.
Among those arrested and paraded by the police commissioner were Asuka Nyrzedukpe, 25 and David Ovuru, 18 who allegedly kidnapped one Mrs. Miekumo Jonah in Akenpai, and one Ishmael Kelepre from Foropa community in Southern Ijaw, who masterminded the abduction of Mrs. Ikoli Munemune around Assemblies of God Road, Yenagoa.
Others currently in the police net are Opukeme Yague, 23; Kiese Moses, 20, who were said to have gone through the capital city dispossessing residents of their valuables.
Amba added that cases of cultists attacks in the state had been brought under control with the arrest of several of their members belonging mainly to the Greenlanders during a clash in Amassoma , Southern Ijaw.
Those apprehended in connection with cult activities during a raid in Okaki, included Marshal Enegesi, Ali Amatari, Funmi Shehu and Destiny Jerry. A single barrel, four round of cartridges and battle axes were recovered from them.
The police boss added that another cult group identified as Icelanders clashed at a burial ceremony in Foroama-Amassoma, leading to the arrest of Godwin Thompson, Michael Ongolo, Johnson Jonah, Royal Femo and Asari Ebikewonum, while several ammunition were recovered.
Other members of the Greenlanders arrested while reportedly going for an operation were Raphael Geku, Keme Collins, and Daniel Okpotolomo, who the police said have confessed to the crime.
Also yesterday morning, one Emmanuel Tabofa, 23, a professional footballer with Bayelsa United, was apprehended at Swali during a robbery operation while Abass Mohammed from Kogi and Akpan Abraham were also arrested in Yenagoa.
One Jeffery Nasamu, who the police said specialises in trailing and robbing unsuspecting bank customers in the capital city was also apprehended by the police.
The police boss said contrary to rumours, Bayelsa was not under siege by the criminals, noting that his men would continue to ensure that crime rate in the state remain one of the lowest in the country.
â€œThe state is not under siege as claimed by some tabloids. Bayelsa is one of the safest states in the country. There is no security gap. The command has intensified its effort in fighting crime.
â€œTo this end, violent crimes have been reduced to the barest minimum and we believe through community participation, our proactive approach to policing will make Bayelsa the safest in the country,â€ he assured.