Saturday 8 August 2015

Army Deserter Uses Boko Haram Guns To Rob In Bayelsa

An army deserter, identified as Presido Yenabo, has been apprehended for armed robbery in Bayelsa State.Yenabo, who claimed to have deserted the army after he was posted to Maiduguri to fight insurgency, said the rifles the police caught him with were stolen from the camp of Boko Haram insurgents.

The runaway soldier, from Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State was arrested alongside an accomplice, 22-year-old ThankGod Victor, a native of Ogoni in Rivers State. The suspects were arrested along the Sani Abacha Way in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.

The 28-year-old deserter, who was among scores of suspects paraded by the Bayelsa State Police Command recently, said he abandoned his military duties in Borno because he had problems with his hearing.

Yenabo said, “I was in the Army. I was among those fighting Boko Haram in Maiduguri, Borno State. I left the army in January this year because I had problems with my two ears. Because I could not hear again, I had to desert the Army. “I ran away with my uniforms and the guns I stole from Boko Haram fighters.”

When asked why he did not return the rifles to military authorities, he said, “I was afraid I might be arrested. We were not using them for robberies.”

Spokesman for the Bayelsa State Police Command, Mr. Asinim Butswat, confirmed that routine raids and stop-and-search operation led to the arrest of the military deserter and 49 other persons over alleged involvement in armed robbery and other violent crimes in the state.

Butswat said a Highlander SUV stolen from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, was allegedly found in the possession of Yenabo and his partner in crime
He said they would be charged for illegal possession of rifles, armed robbery and theft.

Meanwhile, the police also paraded John Okafor, a suspected serial killer and notorious armed robber, who hailed from Oguta in Imo State.

Though Okafor claimed that the rifles recovered from him belonged to a friend, one Preye, he confessed that was his first attempt.

Okafor said he was arrested at Igbogene area of Bayelsa State by a vigilante group and handed over to the police. According to him, the robbery he carried out was the work of the devil.

He said, “The rifle belonged to my friend, Preye. I didn’t know he is a robber. We were caught at Igbogene area of Bayelsa State. I have not robbed before. This whole thing is the work of the devil. I know God will set me free,” the suspect said.

Meanwhile, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the police in the state recently received knocks from the Civil Liberties Organisation, Bayelsa State chapter.
Its Chairman, Chief Nengi James, had alleged that SARS operatives in Bayelsa carry out their duties without regard to the rule of law instead of protecting lives and property.

He had said, “The CLO, after a preliminary investigation by a special team of undercover
comrades and youth leaders, discovered a shocking dimension to the illegal duties of the Bayelsa State Police through the men of the State Anti-Robbery Squad and the various divisions of the state police command.

“The group’s report showed that men of the command, on a daily basis, engage in mass arrest of innocent people charging them with “wandering” and demanding between N5,000 and N10,000 as “bail” before releasing them without paper works.

“Those that cannot pay the illegally-demanded fees are made to sleep in a congested cell with over 100 youths cramped together. They (the police) also don’t separate the minors from the mature victims.”
However, these allegations were denied by the police spokesman.

Butswat said the allegations were spurious, maintaining that the command had achieved great
feats through raids carried out in the state. He said, “The command wishes to state categorically that raids are operational strategies deployed to combat crime in the state.

“The police command has recorded successes in recent past through raids. For instance, policemen from the Yenagoa Division arrested one Godgift Isaac, at about 9.45pm on July 31, 2015, while conducting intensive raids, along DSP Alamieyesegha Road, Yenagoa.

“The suspect is a member of a six-man armed robbery gang, who had earlier robbed and shot one Abiodun Dauda, under his forearm and inflicted machete cuts on his forehead on July 29, 2015 along the Harbour Road, Yenagoa.

“The victim, Abiodun Dauda, who was robbed of N35,000 and two handsets, identified the suspect and the suspect admitted to the crime. The suspect identified other members of the gang as one Hunchback Nodfeh, one ThankGod (surname unknown). Upon interrogation, one Owei Prince, aka ‘Fela’ and Joel Seibokuro were arrested at a criminal hideout,while one Akpoi is still at large.”

He stated that such feats could not have been easily achieved without raids, stressing that as of present, the command had a total number of 50 armed robbery suspects in its custody. He said the suspects had been on a police wanted list, but were arrested through raiding.

Butswat equally warned policemen to desist from extorting money from members of the public in the course of discharging their official duties.

He urged members of the public to always channel complaints of police excesses to the dedicated phone numbers: 07034578208; 08032789712 as part of the measures to rid the state of errant policemen.

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