Dennis Naku, Port Harcourt
The Police in Rivers State have confirmed the arrest of eight suspected members of a cybercrime/kidnapping syndicate in Cypo Estate, Umuebule 1 in Etche Local Government Area of the state.
Spokesperson of the state Police Command, Grace Iringe-Koko, disclosed this in a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
Iringe-Koko said the raid was carried out by the Command’s Hawk Tactical Team on Tuesday, 9th May 2023 following credible intelligence, saying the suspects were between 17 and 22 years of age.
The statement read, “While acting on reliable intelligence on the activities of some suspected kidnappers and cyber fraudsters, we raided a hideout in Cypo Estate, Umuebule 1, Etche LGA.”
She gave the names of the suspects as Desmond Williams, 19, Isaac Patrick, 22, Prince Nelson, 17, John Ahmed, 17, ThankGod Neesogho, 22, Christian Adewale, 22 Uche Alaga, 16 and Nwika Fakae, 22, all males.
Iringe-Koko, a Superintendent of Police said one of their victims aged 20, who was deceived with a job offer (names withheld) and ended up being abducted was rescued.
The statement added, “The suspects in their confession revealed that their modus operandi include defrauding innocent victims online and fleecing them of their hard-earned money, and luring unsuspecting victims to their hideout and using them as baits to fleece their family members and loved ones.
“The victim was lured by his friend who promised to give him a job in the hotel.
“When the job wasn’t forthcoming, the victim opted to go back to his home, but his captors wouldn’t let him. For his insistence, the victim was beaten severely and inflicted with body injuries. Suspects thereafter demanded N500,000 ransom from the victim’s parents.
“Exhibits recovered from them include seven laptops and some substances suspected to be illicit hard drugs. Investigation is ongoing.”
She said the State Commissioner of Police, Okon Effiong, has advised parents to monitor the activities of their children and be wary of the friends they keep.
“Residents of the state are further enjoined to remain supportive, law-abiding, and vigilant, and promptly report acts of crime and criminality to the nearest police station,” the state police spokesperson added.