The Nigeria police force say they have arrested 16 suspects linked with the recent killing of police officers in parts of the south-east.
Frank Mba, police spokesperson, said on Sunday that among those arrested are two members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as well as a pastor in Imo state.
It was reported how at least 14 police officers were killed in the south-east in the last three months.
The media reports studied showed the officers were killed during 11 different attacks, a steep rise in such targeted assault against the security agency.
Mba said the police arrested the 16 after investigations “clearly established and linked the suspects to several incidents of attacks and murder of security personnel.”
“The suspects – Ugochukwu Samuel a.k.a Biggy, a 28-year-old native of Arochukwu LGA in Abia State; Raphael Idang, 31-year-old native of Odukpani LGA of Cross River state; Cletus Nwachukwu Egole aka ‘Alewa’, 60-years-old native of Orlu in Imo State; Michael Uba, 33yrs from Imo State; and twelve (12) others in the course of investigation, were implicated in multiple felonies committed across several states in the South-Eastern part of the Federation,” the statement read.
“A total of nine (9) AK47 rifles, five (5) other sophisticated firearms, seventeen (17) AK47 Magazines, 549 AK47 live ammunition, 10 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), camouflage bullet proof vests, walkie talkies and other incriminating items were recovered from the suspects.”
The police said Samuel and Idang were among two groups that killed three police officers during separate attacks in December and January.
“Both suspects confessed to being active members of IPOB and ESN,” it added.
Also arrested were Cletus Egole identified as a pastor with the Holy Blessed Trinity Sabbath Church in Imo state as well as Michael Uba, a prophet with the Association of Jewish Faith.
They were identified as being among the masterminds of the various attacks on security personnel “in addition to providing spiritual cover for the gang.”