Operatives attached to the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team have arrested two men who admitted to killing three policemen escorting senior workers of Total Oil Nigeria.
The suspects disclosed that they killed the policemen and a civilian driver along Woji area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The civilian killed during the attack was later identified as a driver to the vehicle, while the AK-47 rifles in possession of the policemen were all carted away by the suspects.
The suspects have been identified as Godwill Jackson, 22, and Dumlebabari Mbane, 28.
Mbane said: “The last operation we went for was at Woji area of Port Harcourt. We were four that went for the operation. We snatched a sienna car and used it to rob a super market at Ada George. I don’t know the exact amount we took from that shop before we moved to the next shop at Woji. At the Woji shop, we robbed them of cash and other valuables. We took everything to Elechi where we shared all our loots. On that last operation, we attacked some policemen. We accosted the policemen on the road, in Woji area and killed them. Smart and Ibinabo took the rifles of the policemen. I was later given one of their rifles.”
The downfall of the suspects started in November after IRT operatives arrested them for another crime, but later found out during investigation that they were part of a gang that killed three police escorts and a civilian driver.
The gang allegedly specialised in snatching Toyota Sienna vans and robbing super markets in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
A police source said: “The policemen and the civilian lost their lives while providing security escort to top managers working with Total Oil Nigeria Plc. The managers and their entourage, who were returning from a courtesy visit, when they were attacked in September 2018, after the civilian driver missed his way and veered into Woji area of Port Harcourt, through Ada-George in a bid to reverse.”
The death of the three policemen was said to have pained the immediate past IG, Ibrahim Idris, so much that he ordered the IRT, led by a Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari, to take the investigation as a special one and fish out the killers of the policemen. The police initially thought the policemen were killed when the suspects attempted to abduct the management team of Total Oil Nigeria.
The IRT operatives were still investigating the murder of the three policemen and the driver when they got another information that a British-Nigeria National, Prof. Belgaum, had been abducted. A team was immediately ordered to follow the trail of the kidnappers of Belgaum before it goes cold.
It was in the course of keenly following the trail that IRT men stumbled on Jackson and Mbane, thinking they were just car snatchers. Further investigations revealed that they were killers.
A police source said: “The suspects confessed to being responsible for the killing of the three policemen and their driver. The suspects said they were on a random robbery operation on a super markets along, Ada-George and Woji areas of Port Harcourt, dispossessing customers of their valuables and mobile phones, when they accosted the driver carrying the policemen. The suspects, who were also armed with Ak-47 rifles, opened fire on the policemen and the driver, killing them on the spot. We were following IG’s instructions, trailing kidnappers of Mrs. Belgaum, who was abducted and released after an unknown amount was paid as ransom, when we busted the car snatching and robbery gang. Professor Belgaum, a British Nigerian, is a medical doctor working at the University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital, (UPTH). We learned that the people who kidnapped the Professor carried out the operation, using a black Toyota Sienna. When we contacted our informants within Port-Harcourt, they gave us identities of the suspects, Dumlebabari Mbane and Godswill Jackson. We went after them and got them arrested.
“The suspects, however, confessed during interrogations that they were not part of the gang who kidnapped Professor Belgaum. They admitted to have taken part in the killing of the three policemen and their driver at Woji area of the state. They led us to recover two Toyota Sienna vans which they snatched at Port Harcourt. We also recovered the two Ak-47 rifles, which they took from the policemen they killed.”
Mbane, an electrician, said he stopped schooling when he was in primary five. He explained that the leader of their gang is called Smart. He and Smart were classmates at Community Primary School, Kaani, Khana Local Government Area, which was not far from his village. Smart’s father is a teacher in the school.
Mbane recounted: “We met years later in Port Harcourt. I was a conductor. I was looking for money to open a shop, when I met Smart. He suggested we should rob a super market. That was in June 2018. Smart was the person armed with gun. We were four persons that went for the robbery operation at Ajip area of Port Harcourt. I don’t know how much we robbed from that shop on that fateful day, but I was given N48, 000 as my share. I went to my village with the money and spent a month there before I went back to my conductor work. And then I met my friend Godswill Monday, who is a driver. I linked him to Smart and we all went to snatch a vehicle. I was given N120,000 with five phones. Smart was the person that brought the guns.”
Jackson, a commercial bus driver, said: “My friend Mbane introduced me into robbery after my bus developed fault. I told my friend Mbane about it because he was always spending money. He told me that he was looking for a driver. On the first operation, it was Mbane and I that went for the operation. We snatched a sienna car at Mile 3. The owner of the vehicle was supplying bread with the vehicle and we took it from him. We went to Chuba area, where we robbed a super market. I was given N20,000 and two phones. Mbane also gave me the vehicle and asked me to dispose it. I gave the vehicle to one of my friends to look for a buyer. Two weeks later, we went for another operation. Mbane linked me up with his friends and we snatched a vehicle at Mile 2 in Port Harcourt. We snatched a Sienna car and used it to rob a super market. We also robbed another super market, and on our way back, Smart ordered me to stop. They started running after a vehicle. I heard gun shots, but I didn’t know that policemen were killed on that day.”