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Army disowns ‘soldiers’ arrested for Ebonyi bullion van robbery

The Nigerian Army on Wednesday said soldiers allegedly arrested for bullion van robbery in Abakilii, Ebonyi State are not its personnel.

Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, in 82 Division Colonel Aliyu Yusuf, made the rebuttal in Enugu.

The bullion van was attacked on July 29 on its way to Enugu State. The suspects were arrested by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT).

Recovered from the suspects were explosives, one GPMG, six rifles, 51 AK-47 magazines, 1,620 rounds of ammunition, two vehicles, breaking instruments, and charms.

“During a serious manhunt by IRT detectives with technical intelligence support from TIU, one Alfred Robinson, aged 45, was arrested on August 1, with arms and ammunition recovered from him,” a police source told The Guardian.

The police named the suspects as: Sunday (aka Sunny); SGT Ayeni Samuel, 43, a serving soldier currently attached to Command Day Secondary School, Nigeria Army Cantonment, Ikeja, Lagos; CPL Emeka Harrison, 33, a dismissed soldier who until his dismissal was attached to 7 Division Garrison, Maiduguri, Borno State; Emeka Illo, 37, sponsor of the gang; Abuchi Elijah (aka Chime), 27, an informant; and Ibaniforio Ekene, 38.

“Recovered from the six suspected hoodlums arrested on August 2, with intent to perfect a planned bank robbery in Asaba this week, include a Lexus 350 SUV with number plate AGL 267 FN containing 136 rounds of K2 ammunition, five K2 magazines, 12 locally-made bombs, one KPT power tool angle grinder, two hammer, one cutter and assorted charms,” the police source said.

“The suspects, upon interrogation, confessed to the bullion van robbery in Ebonyi State, where four policemen were killed and many other armed robberies/kidnappings across the south-east and south-south regions.”

The source said the suspects also confessed that four out of the rifles recovered belonged to the policemen they killed during the robberies.

“The suspects are assisting the police with information on how to arrest other gang members who are on the run,” the police source said.

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