Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
No fewer than 21 persons arrested and detained by the police in Ohafia, Abia State have escaped from the cell where they were kept.
THISDAY gathered that the suspects had at about 7.00pm on Saturday tricked the police guard on duty with the excuse that they needed to evacuate the human waste they generated in the cell.
According to sources, the unsuspecting police guard picked one of the suspects held on â€œlesser offenceâ€ and escorted him to go and dispose of the urine passed into a container by the suspects.
However, in the process of taking the suspect back to the cell, the rest of the detainees were said to have overpowered the guard and escaped in various directions, leaving the officer on duty â€œconfusedâ€.
The fleeing suspects were also said to have broken the window louvres in the station in order to facilitate their escape from detention.
It was gathered that among the escapees were 16 suspects that the police had rounded up for belonging to a criminal gang that had been â€œterrorisingâ€ Asa Ohafia community.
A community leader, who did not want his name mentioned, told THISDAY that his people were not happy that the suspects were â€œnot handled with the seriousnessâ€ required given that the police had recovered guns and axes from them during their arrest.
The state command appears to be doing everything possible to conceal the escape of the detainees because of the embarrassment it has caused the command.
When the Ohafia area commander was contacted, he referred THISDAY to the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Geoffrey Ogbonna, who said that he was yet to be briefed on the incident.
Meanwhile, efforts of the police in Ohafia to recapture the fleeing suspects have yielded a minimal result as only three of them have been recaptured.
It was learnt that one of the recaptured suspects was taken off a commercial bus bound for Aba, which was intercepted by the police.