The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, has said that the four students of the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, who were killed by a mob in Aluu, Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, had gone to the area to recover a debt.
However, instead of paying, the debtor, identified as Coxson Lelebori Lucky, better known as Bright, raised a false alarm, which led to the killing of the students.
Abubakar, in a statement on Monday also gave the details of the students who were burnt to death by a mob, adding that the mob chased an initial patrol team that went to the area with stones.
The statement identified the students as Tekena Elkanah (20), a Diploma Technical student; Chiadaka Odinga (20), 200 Level, Theatre Arts student; Ugunna Obuzor (18), 200 Level, Geology Student; and Lloyd Toku (19), 200 Level, Civil Engineering Student.
The statement said in part: “Findings have revealed that the victims had gone to the area where they met their unfortunate death earlier that morning to demand for money allegedly owed to them by Coxson Lelebori Lucky, alias ‘Bright’, who raised a false alarm that the victims were armed robbers.
“Although, Coxson has gone underground, detectives are on his trail.”
But 21 other suspects in the incident have been apprehended by the police, Abubakar said.
Among those already arrested is the traditional ruler of Omukiri Community, Aluu, Hassan Welewa.
Others included members of the vigilante group of the community.
Abubakar added: “Intelligence report implicated Alhaji Hassan Welewa, as being the person who incited the mob to unleash terror on the victims.
“Further investigation conducted by the police indicates that four (4) suspects, namely: Felemo Solomon; Cynthia Chinwo; Ozioma Abajuo and Chigozie Samuel Evans have been closely linked to this barbarous act.
“Investigation is ongoing with efforts being intensified to track down others who are involved in the incident. Those who are found culpable shall be prosecuted.”
The police boss said of the stoning of the initial patrol team that arrived at the scene of the incident: “Attempt made by the Police Patrol Team to take over the suspects were met with stiff opposition from the mob who chased the team with stones.
“But unfortunately, upon the arrival of the reinforcements, the alleged armed robbery suspects have been stoned and burnt to death, while the mob immediately took to their heels.
“The corpses were recovered by the Police who by then have been joined by members of the Joint Task Force (JTF).”