Police arrest Rivers New Year’s Day killings suspect


The Police have arrested one of the suspects of the New Year’s Day killings  in Omoku, Rivers State

Desmond Okotubo was arrested in Mpape, Abuja.

No fewer than 15 persons were killed in Omoku, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area by the group.

The victims had earlier gone to their churches for the crossover night service before they were ambushed.

Some of those killed during the mayhem were said to be four members of a family, including a man and his wife.

The 32-year-old suspect from Egbema in Rivers State admitted participating in the attack with the “Commander” of the group, the late Igwedibia Johnson,  aka ‘General ‘ Don Waney.

He said the attack was to fight the vigilante group who had earlier destroyed Don Waney’s house and caught his mother.

The police said six members of the gang were killed in a gun battle that lasted for hours.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja on how they went on the gang’s trail, police spokesman Jimoh Moshood said : ”The IGP-Intelligence Response Team attached to the Joint Police Special Investigation Team engaged some of the suspects in their hideouts in Awara Forest boundary between Imo and Rivers states; the shootout lasting several hours resulted in the death of six of the suspects while others escaped with bullet wounds to other locations in Rivers, Delta, Imo and Bayelsa states and the police teams are on their trail.

“The IGP-Intelligence Response Team working on an actionable intelligence further identified Desmond Okotubo, who escaped on the 3rd January, 2018 to Abuja after a shootout with the Police Team in a location in Imo State. He was trailed to Mpape in Abuja where he was arrested after serious resistance on the 9th January, 2018.

“The principal suspect, Desmond Okotubo 32yrs, who is a native of Egbenma from Unelga LGA, Rivers State Confessed to be one of the masterminds of the gang and actively participated in the killings of innocent people in Omoku Rivers State on New Year’s Day.

“He further gave details of how they planned the operation in Awara town, Imo State before they carried out the act.”

Moshood, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) went on: “The suspect, Desmond Okotubo, also revealed to the police how their gang leader, Don Waney gathered them and briefed them on the night of 31st January, 2017 on the mission to attack and kill the residents of Omoku town.

“Thirty of them armed with over 20 AK47 rifles crossed the river from Awara to Omoku forest and proceeded to Omoku town and opened fire on innocent citizens celebrating the new year.”

The police said investigation was being intensified to arrest other members of the gang.

The suspect, giving details of his involvement in the mattack, said: “It was Don Waney that gave us the command.  Don Waney has a group called Red Squad. He gives them gun to shoot. The squad are from Imo and Rivers states. They are the ones that shot and killed people that fateful day.

“When Don Waney came back, he stopped in Awara,  Imo State and that was where we all assembled before proceeding to Omoku. I followed them to Omoku but I was not given a gun.”

On why they embarked on the dastardly act, Okotubo said: “Don Waney had a problem with vigilante group. They caught his mother and destroyed his house and that was why he went to kill people in Omoku.

“I went to Owerri with the intention of relocating to Abuja to start working. I went to carry my bag. It was while I was there I was told Don Waney was back and it was there guns were shared and we went to Omoku.

“I was caught in Abuja where I reside. I left Abuja to Owerri on the 28th of December, 2017 and I returned on the 3rd. Over 15 of us went for the operation.”

Some of those who participated in the killing according to him are: “Akpola, Ntuga, Throway, Oluchukwu, Don Waney, the second in command, Chikezia, Bosky, the Mighty, and Vananga.

Asked if the the attack had any political undertone, Okotubo said: “Maybe Don  Waney has link with politicians and relates with them but we the members are not up to the level of those who can relate with politicians.”

Okotubo said he was ready to cooperate with the police to fish out other suspects.

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