A senior gang member of the deadly kidnap-for-ransom and cultist syndicate responsible for the massacre of about 17 worshippers in Omoku, Rivers state on New Year day has been arrested by the police in Mpape, Abuja, after putting up serious resistance.
The 32-year-old suspect, Desmond Okotubo, and father of three, was rounded up by the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Intelligence Response Team attached to the Joint Police Special Investigation Team joined by the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department, Force Department of Operations and the Rivers State Police Command.
Okotubo, according to the Force Public Relations Officers, CSP Jimoh Moshood, hails from Egbenma in Onelga Local Government Area of Rivers State, and was trailed to Mpape in Abuja where he was arrested.
Moshood disclosed that in a shoot-out that lasted several hours in their hideouts at Awara Forest boundary between Imo and Rivers State, six of the suspects were killed while others escaped with bullet wound injury to other locations in Rivers, Delta, Imo and Bayelsa States and that the Police Teams are currently on their trail.
His words, “The IGP-Intelligence Response Team working on an actionable intelligence further identified Desmond Okotubo who escaped on the 3rd January, 2018 to Abuja after a shoot out with the Police Team in a location in Imo State, he was trailed to Mpape in Abuja where he was arrested after serious resistance on the 9th January, 2018.
“The suspect, Desmond Okotubo also revealed to the Police how their Gang leader Don Waney gathered them and briefed them on the night of 31st January, 2017 on the mission to attack and kill the residents of Omoku town. Thirty (30) of them Armed with over Twenty (20) AK47 Rifles crossed the river from Awara to Omoku forest and proceeded to Omoku town and opened fire on innocent Citizens celebrating the new year.”
The police spokesman who said Investigation is being intensified to arrest other members of the gang still at large to get to the root of the matter, said the suspect will be arraigned in court as soon as investigation is completed.
While being paraded at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, Okotubo told newsmen that the group embarked on the deadly attack to avenge the arrest and humiliation of the mother of Don Waney, the deceased leader of the group and also the destruction of Waney’s property in the state, as well as to teach the vigilance group in the town a lesson for daring their leader.
Okotubo, who is now in custody of the police, also revealed that their plan to attack the town was hatched at Owerri, Imo State, and that their real target was the members vigilante group.
He said they never planned to attack worshippers who had just closed form the cross over service, but somehow the operation just went wrong.
The suspect however promised to help government fish out the rest member of the gang, even as he said he does not know if their late leader was being used by some politicians to cause trouble in the state.
He further told journalists, “It was Don Waney that did it. We followed Don Waney and he has a group that he gave gun to shoot called “Red Squad”. I did not hold any gun and I don’t know about it but he has a group called red squad.
“Those red squad are from Imo and Rivers states and they are the ones that shoot and kill. I know those that shot and kill those people. In that party, I know many people that belong to the party.
“I followed them during the killing. When Don Waney got back, he stopped at Imo State, Awara, village and it was there everybody assembled before going to Omoku. I followed them to Omoku but they did not give me gun.
“Don Waney has a problem with the vigilante group because they arrested his mother and also destroyed his house and that is why he came back to revenge and kill those people at Omoku. I did not feel fine as they did not give me gun.”
Asked how and where he was arrested, he continued, “I was at Mpape, in Abuja, before I was arrested. I travelled to Owerri on December 28, and came back January 3.
“We were not given money after the attack and nobody promised to give me money. We have over fifteen to twenty members in the gang. I don’t have a position in the group, I am just a member all I do is to follow the executives of the gang.
“We have one Tuga, who is in charge of our armoury and we have over 20 guns and I am the only member of the gang living in Abuja. It was when I traveled for the Christmas that I was told Don Wayne was back and that he wanted to revenge for how they burnt his property and from there I met them at Owerri where all the red squad were gathered and he (Waney) shared the guns amongst them and after that, we proceeded to Awara, village and stayed there for sometime before traveling to Omoku, to kill.
“I got to know Don Waney in 2015 through one of his brothers, Pruchukwu. The brother used to live at Owerri, but I don’t know where he is now because I have not seen him since his brother died.
“I cannot tell weather or not the killings is politically motivated, I cannot speak on that, may be it was Don Wayne, that did that negotiation not me.
“We in the group have not reached the level of negotiating with politicians, it is Don Wayne and his executives that do that.
All the meeting we had before the attack was held at Awara.
“Before the Omoku attack, we have carried out attack after the 2015, elections and even before the elections, many things happened in the state because we carried out many operations.
“I am married and I have three children. My wife is in the village at Egbema. We actually went to attack the village and not the church but Don Waney, changed the plans when we got there and I feel so bad that so many people died but from the way I am now, I am ready to work with government and help them to fish out all the people that are members of the gang”.