The 76-year-old businessman rescued by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team in Abia State, Benjamin Okoye, is dead.
The victim, who was said to be hypertensive and denied access to his drugs while in the den of the kidnappers, died on Monday after being rescued by the IRT, led by ACP Abba Kyari, on Sunday.
The Commissioner, Abia State Police Command, Anthony Ogbizi, on Monday confirmed the death of Okoye during the parade of his abductors.
The six suspects, who are presently in police custody are Chinonye Anoro, 26; Prince Sylvester, 35, owner and driver of the operational bus; Kingsley Papa, 45; Ugbonabo Danjuma 43, who is the gang leader; Moses Clever, 31; and Ogoro James, 26.
Turning to the suspects, Ogbizi said: “Now that your victim has died, what have you gained?”
He added: “The suspects were engaged in a gun battle by a combined team of IRT operatives, right in the bungalow of the suspects.
“The bungalow is located at the World Bank Housing Estate in Aba.
“The IRT operatives had smashed many crimes and are behind this present success.
“During the gun battle, no life was lost.
“It was an excellent job.
“The rules of engagement was strictly observed.”
Ogbizi said that since the IRT operatives came into Abia State, crime has reduced.
He said: “For instance, two weeks ago at Ukwa Community, nine suspected kidnappers were arrested.
“Today, the people of that area will have peace.
“We assure citizens of Abia State, peace and security, especially during this Yuletides.”
Ogbizi said that it was difficult for the gang and other criminals to escape because of the security network built in the state.
He said the method now adopted by the criminals was to tail prospective victims to their homes, using tricycle, after which they would abduct them.
One of the suspects with gunshot wound, Sylvester, said: “I’m not a member of the kidnappers.
“But they used to take my mini bus to carry out their operations.
“Each time they used the bus, they give me some money.
“The gang has used my bus twice and gave me N400,000.
“I protested that they should not use the bus again.
“I used the money to pay off debts.”
Anorue, 26, said he was in his shop when one of the suspects, Sylvester, came and told him that there was somebody they wanted to carry.
“He said he drove the bus to pick the victim when he and others were arrested.
The leader of the gang, Sylvester, has been identified as a shop owner at the popular Eziukwu/Cemetery Market in Aba.
“He is the information source of the gang.
The hoodlums, who were said to have kidnapped Okoye’s son not too long ago, still went back to kidnap the importer with the sole aim of extracting more money from him.
It was learnt that the hoodlums on sighting the police engaged them in a gun duel and were later being overpowered by the police team.