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Owerri prison escapees in fresh case of kidnapping, armed robbery

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Two inmates who escaped from the Owerri Correctional facility have been arrested by operatives of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) for alleged involvement in a fresh case of kidnapping, armed robbery and car snatching.

The suspects, Okechukwu Edison and Sunday Morrison were rearrested in Port Harcourt, Rivers State in an operation led by the Commander of the IRT, Olatunji Disu, a deputy commissioner of police.

The duo was said to have been awaiting trial for 11 years in prison custody before they escaped during a jailbreak on April 5.

Police sources said they were arrested for kidnapping and armed robbery many years ago and remanded in prison custody after their arraignment in court.

Operatives, it was gathered, apprehended them on November 10 at Rumuola Junction, three days after they had successfully executed the kidnapping operation.

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It was learnt that their arrest followed intelligence received by the elite squad about the kidnap of the female lawyer who was ambushed along Igwuruta road in Port Harcourt while she was coming out of a shop.

The duo, alongside other members of their gang, allegedly stole N5million from the lawyer’s account while she was in custody in an uncompleted building at Eneka, a semi-urban settlement in Port Harcourt City.

Both natives of Rumuji in Rivers State, the suspect told the DCP Tunji Disu-led IRT that they returned to kidnapping after their illegal bunkering sites were destroyed by armed soldiers.

They confessed that they fled the correctional facility when gunmen attacked the place with dynamites on April 5.

“We went into kidnapping, armed robbery, and car theft after some armed soldiers invaded and destroyed the oil bunkering site we were making a living from when we fled from prison,” they told the police.

In his confession to the police, Edison said the place they held the lawyer was organised by one Chukwuemeka Onu, 25, his townsman, adding that he told Onu to arrange for a safe place for their victim.

He claimed that he was initially incarcerated for kidnapping because he loaned his vehicle to his roommate called Emmanuel, who was later arrested and charged with kidnapping.

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But Onu denied knowing that the woman was a kidnapped victim, insisting that Edison had asked him to get a safe place for his illegal bunkering equipment

Another of the suspects, it was learnt, admitted to have spent 14 years awaiting trial at the Owerri Correctional Centre only for his case to be reassigned to another judge shortly before the jailbreak.

It was gathered that the IRT was looking into the suspects’ involvement in other crimes while efforts were on to arrest other gang members.

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