BY ANDREW AKPOR in Benin City•
For the men of the Edo State Police Command it was a harvest time, as they arrested no fewer than 54 persons in connection with the ongoing cult war in the state.
Police said the 54 suspects were arrested in different parts of the state, just as the kidnappers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) State Assembly candidate, Michael Ohio-Ezomo demanded for N100m ransom.
Gunmen kidnapped ohio-Ezomo on January 23, 2019 at his Sabonginda Ora residence after his police orderly was killed and family sources said the kidnappers called them last weekend and made the demand.
It was however gathered that an attempt to rescue him by a special police force failed and the abductors managed to escape to another location.
Edo Police Commissioner, Hakeem Odumosu, confirmed that the kidnappers had opened communication channels but was silent on how much was being demanded, adding that the police was being careful because of the victim.
On the arrest of suspected kidnappers, the Edo Police boss said his men busted kidnappers den at Okada Junction in Ovia South West Local Government Area where locally made pistol, one cut to size barrel and two wooden guns were recovered.
While calling on good spirited individuals to assist the police with useful information, Odumosun said seven kidnap victims were rescued in January in different parts of Edo State.
According to him, five of the suspects were arrested in connection with the killing of a Police Sergeant, Monday Ehigie, who was an orderly to the Chairman of Ikpoba-Okha local government, Dr. Eric Osayande.
He disclosed that some of the suspects were nabbed after allegedly carrying out killing of rival cult members in Siluko road, Eweka Street, Ugbowo and Upper Sokponba road.
The state police boss added that five of the suspects were nabbed while carrying out initiation ceremony at Okomu, Ovia South West Local Government Area.
Odumosu who expressed concern about the cult killings said the police would soon begin manhunt for their sponsors. He said the slain Police Sergeant would be given a befitting burial.
Odumosu, who recanted on his earlier comments that Monday died while fighting for a rival cult group, said the late Monday gallantly killed two cultists.
Father of Monday, Chief Imafidon Osia Ehigie, had given the CP 72 hours to retract statement that his son was a cultist. He said investigation would reveal if Monday was actually a cultist.
“The killed policeman was not outrightly declared a cultist. I said investigation would prove if he was a cultist. I have called his father and told him all entitlements of Monday would be paid.
“I went to the scene and it was alleged that he was a cultist. We will participate fully in his burial because he died gallantly,” the man emphasised.