Suspect: We killed abducted American soldier because he shot at us

April 13, 2019 Crime Report

An alleged leader of a robbery and kidnapping gang, Sunday Igwe, alias, School Boy, has disclosed why his gang killed an American soldier, Chuks Okebata and dumped his corpse in a gutter. Igwe (29) said that he and his men never had any intention of killing Okebata, an American Army veteran, but that they were forced to. Okebata was killed on January 12, 2017, at Okigwe area of Imo State.

Igwe explained that when they abducted Okebata, they didn’t know who he was, neither were they aware that he had a pistol. They threw him into the boot of their car and drove off. A few minutes later, Okebata started shooting sporadically from the boot, towards their direction. The bullets hit Igwe and another of his gang member. Infuriated, the gang halted the car, opened the boot, disarmed Okebata, killed and flung his body into a gutter.

Igwe recalled: “He pulled out his pistol and started shooting at us from the boot. One of the bullets got me and our driver. I asked the driver to stop the car. We disarmed and killed him on the spot. We threw his body inside a gutter and left. I want everyone to understand that we had no intention of killing him, but he forced us. We didn’t know who he was before the incident.”

Igwe and other members of the gang, Michael Ahamefula (28), Oyebuchi Echefule, Ndubusi Isaac, Victor Dagogo, Chima Okoro and John Edet, were arrested by operatives of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT), led by a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Abba Kyari. Police alleged that Igwe and his members were arrested at different locations within Imo, Abia and Rivers states. The police also said that they recovered two AK- 47 rifles and six magazines loaded with 127 live ammunition. The gang was said to have carried out several high-profile robberies and kidnappings.

The gang’s waterloo started after it killed the American soldier. The IGP, Mohammed Adamu, ordered Kyari and his men to fish out the gang after he received a series of petitions from concerned citizens, who were perturbed by the activities of kidnappers and robbers in the three mentioned states. It was actually based on information provided by victims of the alleged gang that IRT operatives in Abia State, started investigation. The investigation led to Igwe, and soon the operatives started trailing him. One day, he was trailed to a hotel in Aba town and arrested. A police source revealed: “The operatives were on Igwe’s trail for six months.

He was eventually arrested in January 2018. Police recovered two AK-47 rifles and six magazine loaded with 127 live ammunition from him. The police went after his gang members. His second in command, Michael Ahamefula, was arrested. He was arrested along with Oyebuchi Echefule, in a hotel in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. And then, Ndubusi Isaac, Victor Dagogo, Chima Okoro and John Edet were arrested in Orlu and Aba areas of Abia and Imo states.”

The suspects were alleged to have confessed to being members of the gang. Igwe, who is from Abia State, is a secondary school dropout. He said: “After I dropped out of school in 2009, I went to Iwofe area of Port Harcourt, where there is Eagles Cement. I learnt how to drive a truck in 2010. I met some boys, Oshare and Op, at a smoking joint. They introduced me to crime. We started by snatching people’s car. My job was to drive the cars out of town, to Eleme area of Port Harcourt, where they would be sold off. I earned N20, 000 for each operation. After a while,I went to my village; I met one of my brothers known as Samuel. He was also into car snatching. He allowed me to join his gang.

I was connected to the gang leader, KC. We started snatching cars in Aba. Samuel was the owner of the guns we were using to snatch the cars. There was also Ejike, who was a member of our gang. Ejike’s job was to drive us in his car to the location where we would snatch the cars. I made N60, 000 on each operation. “While we were on this, I met Mazi; he introduced me to kidnaping. He wanted a place where he would keep kidnapped victims.

I provided my family house in the village. I was equally looking after the victims. One day, operatives of the Department of State Serviced (DSS) came looking for Mazi. They shot and injured me, but I escaped. I was taken to the hospital, where I spent eight months.”

When Igwe returned from hospital, he met KC, who had then gone into kidnapping. KC had AK-47 rifles. Igwe teamed with him. Igwe recounted: “Our first operation was in Imo State. We had no specific target; what we used to do is to move round the city, looking for people with flashy cars. When we see any, we would follow and kidnap the owner. One day, there was this man we followed. We didn’t know he had policemen with him. The moment the policemen came down, we opened fire.

We killed them on the spot and collected their rifles. We then kidnaped the man we found in the car. We didn’t know the man was just a driver. He wasn’t the owner of the vehicle or the person the policemen were protecting. On that day, we took two victims to our camp.

“After that that operation, we were all tired. We slept off. Our victims, who we left unguarded, escaped and alerted the police. By the time we woke up, we realised that the police were everywhere looking for us. KC was unlucky; he was gunned down while trying to escape. The police recovered one of his rifles. We stopped working for a long time and later we resumed when we thought the police were no longer looking for us. “We went into kidnapping again. On the night we killed the American soldier, we had three rifles with us. We went out looking for victims; we saw a man and tried to kidnap him, but the man noticed we were after him. He ran away and we pursued.

When we caught up with his car, we met it empty. He left with the key. We continued with our journey. That was when we spotted the American soldier in his Infinity SUV. We went after him. We kidnapped him, put him in the boot of our car without knowing that he had a gun with him… After that operation, I lost all my guns because some IRT operatives swooped on Mazi and Ejike. They took my guns from him.

I ran to Ghana. I returned to Nigeria in November 2017. Since I had no gun, I went to Port Harcourt, where I met Solid. He had an Ak-47 rifle. We used it to snatch a car, but Solid took the car and sold it. I then seized his gun.” Ahamefuna, who is the second in command in the gang, is married with two children. He said: “I reside in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. I am from Abia State. I’m a trader. I met Schoolboy in a smoking joint.

He had injury in his leg then. He took me to his village, where we met KC. We formed a kidnapping gang; we kidnapped a man who paid us N1.5million. We went and kidnapped another businessman, who paid us N15million. We also picked someone in Owerri. We took the person to Iteam in Abia State; we got N10million. And then we had trouble after our last operation.”