By Okafor Ofiebor
The Rivers State Police Command have paraded three suspected kidnappers, arrested in connection with the alleged abduction and murder of SP Moses Egbede, the Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) of Afam Police Division in Oyigbo Local Government of the State.
The suspects are: Philemon Barrifa, 23; Okechukwu Emmanuel, 32 and Barrisitom Gbara, 33.
A statement issued by the command’s spokesman, SP Nnamdi Omoni, said operatives of the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) and Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Nigeria Police coordinated the operation.
Egbede was reportedly beaten to death by the gang with his corpse said to have been thrown into a well located in a bush at Paya/Agbeta community in Eleme Local Government Area after his family paid a ransom for his release.
It was gathered that Egbede was abducted on July 21, 2020 but after the collection of ransom from his family on 30th July, the kidnappers reportedly refused to take calls from his family and thereafter switched off the ransom negotiation phone.
This prompted the family members to approach the FIB and IRT to assist in the investigation.
Omoni said operatives of the FIB and Team IRT on August 5th commenced an investigation and with the aid of technical support from TIU Abuja, the perpetrators were identified, which led to the arrest of three of the gang members who allegedly confessed to have kidnapped and killed SP Egbede.
According to the statement, one of the suspects, Barrifa confessed that the officer was beaten to death after the collection of ransom because he dragged with them and pulled down the face mask of two of their gang members during his abduction.
Barrifa reportedly confessed that kidnapping of the police officer was planned in his house and executed himself and other gang members.
He was said to have gotten the sum of N120,000 as a share of the ransom collected.
Another suspect, Emmanuel aka Bike boy, also reportedly confessed to be in charge of monitoring the movement of security agents during the gang operations.
He was said to have received N100,000 as share from the DCO’s ransom.
The third suspect, Gbara, was said to have provided the live cartridges used for the kidnapping of the police officer to the gang members through Barrifa.
The Police statement said the suspects were cooperating with the operatives to track down other members of the gang now at large, especially the gang leader who allegedly brought the two AK-47 rifles used for the abduction.