Operatives of the Inspector-General security outfit known as ‘Operation Puff Adder’ have commenced operations with the arrest of three suspected armed robbers that specialize in the robbery and killing of bank customers in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital.
The three armed robbers, arrested along the Ookordia-Zarama road on the early hours of Wednesday at about 3am, are identified as an Agudama-Epetiama born corps member serving in Cross Rivers state, a serving soldier who claimed to be serving at the Nigerian Army Military School and an ex-militant youth and amnesty beneficiary from Ekeremor local government area of the state.
Senior police source, who confirmed the arrest, said the operation was carried out by the personnel of the Operation Puff Adder led by DSP Christian Nwaogbo and was recorded within a week of the commencement of operations against violent crimes, cultism , killings and kidnapping in the state.
It was gathered that the arrest was made possible based on intelligence gathering by the men of the Operation Puff Adder with an ambush laid at Okordia Zarama and they accosted a Toyota Corolla car and a Highlander jeep used by the suspects on their way to Yenagoa for their nefarious activities.
It was also gathered that the three-man gang has been identified to have killed many bank customers in some parts of Yenagoa and dispossessed many others of huge amounts after bank transactions,
The police are investigating the possibility of connivance between some bank officials and the suspects.
One of the two rifles recovered from the suspects was also reportedly identified to be a service riffle stolen from a police officer attached to the Udeme Hotels along Opolo area and owned by a former Senator, Senator Emmanuel Paulker. The police officer has since been dismissed.
However, a group based in Bayelsa known as ‘Bayelsa Youth Movement for Peace and Security, while commending the development, called on the Inspector- General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, to approve the recommendation of the former Bayelsa commissioner of police and Retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Hillary Okpara, on automatic promotion to next rank of the men of the Former Anti-kidnapping squad and now, the personnel of the Operation Puff Adder led by DSP Christian Nwaogbo.
According to the group, the recommendation by Retired Hillary Okpara ,which was dated March 24, 2014 and numbered CE-2300/BYS/Vol,8/64 , and sent to the former IG for the gallantry of the police personnel to record the rescue of high profile kidnap victims including the rescue of Chief Nitabo Inegite, the foster father of the former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan while in office as President.
Other high profile operations recorded by the then anti-kidnapping squad include the arrest of the killers of 11 policemen at Lorbia community in Southern Ijaw local government area of the state.
The group noted that Retired DIG Okpara’s recommendation was based on the show of discipline, dedication and loyalty of the squad which has been regrouped and are now members of the Operation Puff Adder in Bayelsa state.
Contacted on the arrest of the armed robbery suspects, the spokesman of the Bayelsa Police Command, DSP Asinim Butswat, confirmed it but said the state commissioner of police will brief the media and parade the suspects soon as investigation is still ongoing.