Authorities of the Imo state Police command put together a crack team of operatives who have apprehended the suspected murderers of a Catholic cleric, the late Rev. Fr. Cyriacus Onunkwo.
The late priest was kidnapped at the popular Banana junction axis, Amaifeke, in Orlu, Imo State, last week Friday, by the arrested suspects and taken to an undisclosed place. The body of the deceased was later found the following day, Saturday, in a bush in Omuma, in Oru East Local Government of the state.
The clergyman was going to Osina, Ideato South, in Imo State, to arrange for the burial of his late father, who had died last week Monday. Before his death, he was an officiating priest at the Orlu Catholic Diocese.
While briefing journalists at the Imo state Police command headquarters, Owerri, yesterday, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Cp Chris Okey Ezike, stated that a former police Corporal, Jude Madu, allegedly carried out the kidnap and subsequent murder of Fr. Cyriacus. He was caught through forensic technology, and he was in possession of the late man’s Infinix mobile phone.
The other suspects arrested alongside Jude Madu were also paraded.They are 28-year-old Izuchukwu Okafor, popularly called Small, 29-year-old Onyema Cyril, Emmanuel Ozuigbo, aged 29, Victor Ikechukwu Irokansi, aged 33 and Ifechukwu Nwosu, who is 28 years old.
The late cleric is suspected to have died of suffocation as the suspects said they tied his mouth and cello-taped it.
Recalling the graphic incident, CP Ezike, said, men of the command, had on on the 1st of September, at about 8:35p.m., received a security information that four armed men drove past with speed, in a Toyota Avalon car, double-crossed a priest, stopped him, dispossessed him of his car, and whisked him away to an undisclosed destination.
The commissioner said the suspects took the late priest’s Toyota Corolla Car with its Registration Number given as IMO: KED 290 AA. The force subsequently started a search the next day September 2. The Divisioner Police Officer of Omuma reported that the corpse of an unidentified man was seen in his jurisdiction and it was taken to the mortuary. The corpse was later identified as Fr.Cyriacus.
During the course of the investigation, the team of operatives went to Rivers State and Anambra state for five days while also combing Imo state. From the available evidence, Rev. Fr. Cyriacus was kidnapped, tied up, his mouth taped with cello-tape and put in the trunk of the Toyota Avalon car by the hoodlums.
Apparently, the deceased struggled to breathe but did not make it. This initial finding as at now is not supported with scientific proof but further investigations intend to explore that area.
One of the suspects Okafor said he was caught at Presidential Hotels in Port Harcourt on the 6th of September, in Rivers State, while Cyril said he was apprehended same day, at Control Post in Owerri, Imo State.
Onyema, who is a National Diploma holder in Public Administration from the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Imo State, said he drove the Avalon saloon car which is numbered ETU 368 AA.