By Okafor Ofiebor /Port Harcourt
Operatives of the Force Intelligence Response Team , IRT, in collaboration with policemen from the Rivers State Police Command have arrested a kidnap syndicate that specialized in using Facebook and WhatsApp to lure their victims, in Port Harcourt.
The suspects admitted during interrogation to have kidnapped, tortured, raped and robbed their victims.
They admitted that their targets were usually female and that they have successfully collected ransoms from at least ten 10 female since January 2021, with N5 million their highest ransom.
The nabbed suspects are: Izunna Fidelis, 21, Humble Unity Okeregwu, 24, Izuchukwu Nwaobiri, 22 and Chibeze Nwike ,23.
They were arrested in Choba and Etche areas of Rivers State.
According to the Police, for suspects to get the attention of their victims, they take to their respective Facebook pages posing as foreigners working in multinational oil companies in Rivers State and professing love as well as proposed marriage to their Facebook girl friends, all in a bid to trap them.
The police said their arrest followed report of kidnapping for ransom and the gang-rape of a 27-year-old lady identified simply as Happiness, on August 28, 2021.
According to leader of the gang, Nwaobiri, “The first thing we do is to check Facebook profiles for beautiful girls. Then, we would add them to our friend lists. Each of us works on different persons. I would start up a conversation with my supposed girl, exchange pleasantries and tell her that I worked with an oil company. I also asked if she was married or single.
“It takes time to familiarize with them, say two to three months. Thereafter, we would progress to WhatsApp chats and then telephone calls and when friendship has been established, we will invite them over to the company’s base which is a bush where they would be blindfolded and calls put across to their families.”
Nwaobiri added: “I started earlier this year because of circumstances. My mum is late, my dad has a stroke and I have been the one catering for everything. I have been involved in seven cases but succeeded in four.
“We only rape our captives if they don’t cooperate. That is, if they don’t mount pressure on their relatives to pay ransom.”