By Kunle Abayomi, Ologeh Joseph and Ogunsona Samuel
The Kwara and Ekiti Police have arrested at least three suspects in the murder of a prominent traditional ruler, Onikoro of Ikoro, General Segun Aremu (rtd).
A middle aged man was arrested in Kwara who was handcuffed and used as a lead to locating other suspects elsewhere including Ekiti. The police, hunters and vigilante numbering over 50 backed with aerial reconnaissance visited Irele on Monday morning. They were assisted by Amotekun and local security operatives.
On Monday morning security operatives in collaboration with vigilante and local hunters traced some of the suspects to Ekiti State leading to the arrests. None of those arrested is from Irele or Ijowa, the innocent twin towns that have suffered in the hands of armed groups operating in the area.
Irele is some 20 kilometres from Ikoro in KwaraState. Both communities share a vast forest said to have become a rendezvous of armed groups.
The exercise led the arrest of at least six men. Prompted by geo-aerial sighting, the ground forces stormed an abandoned Nomadic school located between Oke-Ako and Irele. A nomad was said to have been arrested while trying to flee the desolate house built many years ago by the Federal Government but later abandoned.
Four others were also arrested at an apartment located in Ipao-Ekiti based on confessions of some of the criminals.
In another twists, a man Olowofela said to be a timber merchant was traced to his abode in Igbara-Odo, some 120 kilometres form Irele-Ekiti where he was nabbed. Olowolafe has a sawmill at Irele which has however been abandoned for some time.
Irohinoodua could not confirm the role of Olowolafein the rogue cell, if any, but locals suspected he may be linked to crime in the area having been allegedly involved in either collection or payment of ransom. The arrests have not settled who was responsible for the killings of two Obas last Monday and one on Thursday in Kwara State and if those arrested are really in anyway connected to the criminal cobweb.
‘Investigation is on-going. The scope is wide. We are trying to put the pieces of information together’ one of the covert operatives who does not wish to be named told Irohinoodua.
The Ekiti Police command had listed suspects arrested in the recent violent crimes in the state as Yaya Sumaila, Idrisu Abubakar, Hassan Abdullahi, Haruna Abubakar, Usman Abdullahi, Haruna suleand Babusa Alhaji Lede.
The Onikoro was killed on Thursday at his palace. The murderers kidnapped his wife and two others. As at Monday, a ransom of N100m was demanded by the criminals. The Onimojo of Imojo, Oba OlatundeOlusola and Elesun of Esun, Oba David Ogunsonawere killed on Monday while the third Oba in the team, Alara of Ara, Oba Fatoba escaped. Oba Fatobalater identified the attackers to be of Fulani extraction.