Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
Not less than three houses belonging to a suspected leader of a kidnap gang, Okechukwu Uche, in Owaelu , Uratta in the Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State have been demolished.
Uche, who is currently in jail at the Owerri Correctional Center, was said to have masterminded the kidnap of the wife of the traditional ruler of the community, Ugoeze Comfort Okoro.
The 76 year-old woman was murdered in her kidnapper’s den after her family had allegedly paid ransom for her release.
Her corpse was later found at a village road in Akabor community in Oguta council area of the state.
Angered by the death of the septuagenarian, people suspected to be members of the community and backed by the police, demolished the three mansions belonging to the suspected kidnap kingpin.
The police said Uche masterminded the kidnap of the wife of the traditional ruler from jail.
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However, the police spokesperson, Orlando Ikeokwu told our correspondent on Wednesday that the police were not responsible for the demolition of the mansion of the lead suspect.
Ikeokwu said that the police rounded up other suspects while they want to collect second tranche of the ransom.
He said that the arrested suspects confessed that Uche who is in jail for another crime he allegedly committed was their ring leader.
Ikeokwu said that police laid in ambush and arrested the suspects.
He said that two rifles belonging to the police which were snatched last year were recovered from the suspects.
Ikeokwu said: “Police did not demolish the house of the lead suspect but other suspects who were arrested by the police confessed that the person in prison custody is their ring leader.
“We recovered two of our rifles that were snatched last time from the suspects. Part of the ransom the suspects received from the victim’s family has been recovered by the police. We will go to court to ask for Okechukwu Uche to be reproduced for re-arraignment.”