Photo: Police in Ebonyi exhume body of woman killed by suspected kidnappers, one of whom had done internship in her son's firm

The body of 59 year old Catherine Okorie Chukwu, who was kidnapped and killed by a gang of six on January 18th, was on Friday March 3rd exhumed for autopsy.

The deceased who is the mother of a rich Abuja-based industrialist and indigene of Ishiagu community in Ivo Council of Ebonyi State, was abducted at her residence.

She was killed by one of the kidnappers who recognized her because he had previously done his internship at her son's firm in Abuja.

Investigations by the Special Anti-Kidnapping Squad (SAKS), Ebonyi State Police Command, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other corresponding units of the Command, led to the arrest of one Ogbujule Chukwu Mathew of Lokpanta, Isuochi in Ummunneochi Council of Abia State, who confessed that they abducted the woman and killed her to conceal their evil act.

Spokesperson of the command, Jude Madu in an interview with The Guardian said
“Mathew made some confessionary statement, which led to the arrest of one Ezenwa Egeonu, male, of same address on February 23. On interrogation, the said Ezenwa confessed that the victim has been killed by the gang and was buried at Lokpanta, Isuochi in Abia State. He led a team of anti-kidnapping squad of this Command to the scene where the body was buried. The area has been identified, that was why the Command made adequate arrangements for the exhumation of the body. He took our men there and instead of showing the exact spot, he started taking the Police round that vast bush until the early morning of Sunday, when he said his time was up and he was then ready to talk. He then took our men to the exact spot where they buried the woman".
The suspect, Mathew, led a team of 50 policemen, 15 Hilux vans of various units of the Command, an ambulance, morticians, Head of Pathology Department, Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, on a 10 hour journey to the shallow grave.

At the scene, the police brought in four other suspects that were arrested in connection with the kidnap and murder.

Speaking at the shallow grave side, Mathew said
“That pally (pointing at one of the suspects) carry us come here, me and Pilot. We be three, Mathew (the ring leader) four and that Ampelo. We dey six in number. Na that Ampelo (from Ishiagu) say make we kill am. En say because mama (the victim) don see him face, make we kill am. I tell them say make them no kpai mama. The man come slap me for back. Na en the other guy (Chibuike, the gang leader) say him go shoot me. I tell dem say this thing wey dem wan do mama no dey good. Na en dem come tell me say make I comot. I come go up there go sit down (pointing to a hilly side of the shallow river). As I come sit down there, I come hear kpowai. I dey like this (pointing his head to the ground). Pilot come ask me whether I dey cry? I tell am say I dey cry. I tell am say this thing wey una do, before next week now, una go hear am. Na im I come carry my machine (motorcycle) go back”.
According to Mathew, himself and his gang members had tried to escape Police search by hiding the woman at the backyard of his compound in Amaekwuru village, Isuochi in Lokpanta for several hours but had to escape into the forest when they got information that the Police were on their trail, where the victim was later shot dead on the orders of the said Ampelo, who told the gang that he did internship in Abuja through the help of the victim’s son and she had already seen his face; hence they should not spare her life or they would all be in danger.

The exhumed body of the victim was deposited at the Federal Teaching Hospital Mortuary, Abakaliki (FETHA) mortuary for autopsy.

The police spokesperson say further investigation into the matter is ongoing.
“We have taken the body for autopsy. The result of the autopsy will determine our next line of action. We want to find out if they killed the woman with bullet or poison or any other means, even though one of the suspects confessed at the scene that one of them shot the woman. After the autopsy, we shall also update the public. There are some other persons who are not among the six, but they also contributed in one way or the other to aid this crime. Though I may not give you the exact number for now, but others, such as their native doctor, is already in our net. One of the girlfriends of Umoru, who had helped him to escape the very first time, is also in our custody. Investigations are ongoing and the Police is assuring the family and the public that it will get to the end of it all,” he said

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