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Gang of Kidnappers Apprehended in Delta State, Pastor’s Home Used as Hideout

The Delta State Police Command has apprehended a group of seven suspected kidnappers, including a self-proclaimed female pastor, whose residence was used to detain a victim.

According to a statement by State Police Public Relations Officer, Bright Edafe, a kidnapping incident was reported at the Obiaruku Police station on July 19, 2023. The victim, whose identity has been withheld, recounted that while returning from their shop at around 8:30 PM that same day, three masked individuals armed with firearms intercepted them at their residence entrance in Obinoba, Nkwani LGA, and abducted the victim’s mother.

In response to the report, Commissioner of Police Wale Abass assigned the Obiaruku Police station to collaborate with the Special Anti-Kidnapping and Cyber-Crime Squad (SAKCCS) to swiftly initiate a manhunt for the perpetrators and secure the release of the kidnapped individual.

On July 26, 2023, the kidnappers released the victim after collecting a ransom of N2 million and additional jewelry valued at approximately N3.5 million. Armed with vital information, the police conducted an intelligence-driven investigation, leading to the arrest of Kabi Kester, aged 43, on August 4, 2023.

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During interrogation, Kester confessed to being a member of the gang responsible for the abduction (victim’s name withheld). His confession led to the apprehension of two more suspects: Henry Owojero, 42, and Franca Okuzor, a self-proclaimed pastor and the wife of the gang’s leader, Celestine Nova (currently at large). The victim had been held captive for six days in Nova’s residence.

All three suspects admitted their involvement in the kidnapping and identified four others—Celestine Nova, Uche (last name unknown), Chinedu Etudo, and Nweke (last name unknown)—as fellow gang members. A comprehensive search is ongoing to locate the remaining individuals involved in the gang.

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Furthermore, on August 3, 2023, at 4:00 PM, police operatives from the Dragon Patrol intercepted a commercial Sienna vehicle during a visibility and confidence-building patrol along the Benin/Asaba Expressway in Issele-uku. Subsequent examination of the passengers and their belongings led to the discovery of 250 rounds of live cartridges concealed within a bag. The bag’s owner, Omoruyi Osemudiamen, 46, was taken into custody for further investigation.

In another development, acting on a tip-off, a combined team from the Bufallo and Eagle-Net Special Squad executed an operation on August 3, 2023, in Summit Road, Asaba, resulting in the arrest of James Moro, 23. A locally fabricated pump action gun was seized from him, and subsequent inquiries revealed that Moro used the weapon to rob unsuspecting individuals at night in that area. The investigation remains ongoing,” Edafe concluded.

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