From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
The Ondo State Security Network Agency, otherwise known as Operation Amotekun, yesterday, confirmed the arrest of some suspected perpetrators of the attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, where over 40 people were gruesomely murdered and 80 badly injured.
The agency also disclosed that some weapons and vehicles used by the suspected bandits have been recovered. It paraded 71 suspected kidnappers, armed robbers, okada snatchers and human traffickers, allegedly perpetrating dastardly acts across the state.
Parading the suspects, the State Commander of Operation Amotekun, Mr Adetunji Adeleye, who did not give the specific number and other details of the suspects arrested in connection with the Owo massacre, said the corps was still working with other sister security agencies, to track all the perpetrators of the devilish act.
Adeleye appealed to the people of Ondo State, especially those at the border towns on the Akoko-Owo-Ose axis, to remain calm and support the security men to clean up forests being used as hideouts by criminals. He assured that the suspected criminals would be charged to court for prosecution after the conclusion of investigations.
Adeleye said: “A number of people have been arrested concerning the Owo attack, and I am telling you for real that the last vehicle they used before they jumped into the bush has been recovered.
“We pursued them to that point, and we are still pursuing them; we will get to the root of it. The suspects being paraded were arrested within the last one month for crimes, ranging from armed robbery, cattle rustling, kidnapping, fraud.
“The 71 suspects were picked while committing offences and others were tracked to their hideouts in the forest. We have been able to break a cartel that specialises in stealing and dismantling motorbikes (Okada). We have over 30 motorbikes recovered during a one-day operation.
“We also got a report from some herdsmen that their cattle were stolen. We went after them, recovered them and returned them to the owners. We have a group of small boys, under 18 years, who formed themselves into a cartel of criminals in a particular local government area of the state, and armed themselves. They actually belong to a cult group called “Agbado”, 12 of them were arrested.
“We also have four kidnappers, and we intend to take most of these suspects, especially, all the ones we’ve concluded investigations on their matter, to the Department of Public Prosecution.
“We want to reassure the good people of Ondo State that we will not rest until we get to the bottom of the matter, and rid the state of criminal elements.
“We are intensifying efforts to get to the root of the mischievous act of these criminal elements. So, to the people in the northern Senatorial district, especially the border towns in the Akoko area, we will continue with the operation clean-up in the forest there, until the last of the criminals are driven out of the forests,” Adeleye said.