PHOTOS: Two most wanted cult leaders shot dead by police in Imo State
Two most wanted cult leaders and kidnappers in Imo State, were on Thursday gunned down by the operatives of the state police command.
The slain suspects identified as Tochukwu Egbelu, aka blackface; and Enyia Iwu, aka Sparo, were killed during a shootout in the Nwagbaubi forest in Assa community, in the Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area.
The police said they were the leaders of the Iceland cult, which had been credited with the killing of over 20 people and the destruction of over 30 houses.They had been on the wanted list of the command for a long time.
A spokesperson for the command, SP Andrew Enwerem, who confirmed the incident told our correspondent that three other members of the gang escaped with gunshot injuries.
“Black face and Saparo, as well as other persons who are currently on the run, have been on the wanted list of the command,” said Enwerem.
“They are responsible for the killings of Inspector Silas Obaji and Corporal Asuquo Nama sometime in April. The hoodlums equally masterminded the beheading of one Chinweuba of Obile community in September. They are of the Iceland Confraternity,” Enwerem added.
The police spokesperson said the success was as a result of the commitment of the state Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, to stamping out kidnapping and cultism in the state.
One locally-made short gun with five live cartridges and one single-barrelled gun were recovered from the slain cult members.
“It was during a gun duel with police operatives deployed by the CP that the two men died,” he said.
The traditional Ruler of Assa community, Eze Emmanuel Assor, said that news of the death of the two cult members sparked off jubilation in the community, adding that indigenes, who had been on the exile, had been returning to their homes.
Assor further disclosed that property worth over N700m had been destroyed since 2010 when the Deygbam and Iceland confraternities started supremacy war in the two communities.