A suspected cultist and kidnapper shocked newsmen on Friday when he confessed that he had lost count of the number of persons he had killed before his arrest by men of the Rivers State Police Command.
The suspect identified as Mitchel Tamuno, the leader of a cult group, was apprehended by the police in connection with the alleged kidnap on April 14 of a 14-old-old girl.
The girl (name withheld) was said to have been raped by her captors, including Mitchel before she eventually escaped from them.
Narrating why he was arrested by the police, Mitchel explained that he was only involved in killing of members of rival cult groups and did not shed “innocent blood”.
Mitchel, who insisted that he could no longer remember the number of persons he had killed, stated that he purchased the four AK 47 rifles used for operation by members of his cult group (Icelander) from one Ifeanyi in Aba, Abia State.
He added that the guns were used to kill some members of rival cult group (Greenlanders) so as to avenge the killing of members of his own group.
Mitche, who promised to go back to his fish farming business if freed, said, “I have never shed innocent blood. We only kill people that come to kill us because we know the people we are fighting. The AK 47 rifles that were recovered belong to us as a group.
I bought them from one Mr. Ifeanyi in Aba, Abia State. He sold the first two to us at N250,000 each and the second batch of two for N280,000 each.
“We only have four guns in our possession. We use the guns to fight our opponents. Our opponents are the Greenlanders and we fight for supremacy. I have never killed anybody and cut the head. Those who behead do so because they want the other group to feel the pain.
“When you come, you see your friend dead and without a head, you feel the pain. The fight is not on a daily basis. When we get information about them, we go after them and when they (rival cult group) get information about us, they come after us too. I have lost count of how many people I have killed because they all happened on different occasions.”
A member of the gang, who gets information for the kidnap gang, Godwin Pina, denied being a member of any cult group, but only gave information on how to kidnap the 14-year-old girl.
Pina, a 23-year-old labourer, disclosed that the girl that was kidnapped was her neighbour, adding that he became worried when he learnt from the gang members that their victim had escaped.
“They (gang members) called me that the girl had run away. One of my friends, who is at large (Bobo mi) informed me that the girl ran away. I regret my action. Francis, Bobomi and Collins also kidnapped Madam Lizzy.
“I am only involved in the kidnap of the girl, but I did not take part in raping her. Mitchel is our number one man in our group,” Pina added while appealing to the police for forgiveness.
Speaking on the arrested men, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ahmad Muhammad, said Pina was arrested while he went to the bank to withdraw the N50,000 their victim’s father paid into their (kidnappers) account.
Muhammad explained that Pina was able to give the police information that led to the arrest of Mitchel and other gang members, adding that four AK 47 rifles were recovered in the course of investigation.
He pointed out that the command would not relent in its determination to arrest criminals in the state and bring them to book, adding that the command in the month of April arrested 70 suspected kidnappers, cultists and armed robbers.
Muhammad added that 25 suspects were killed during a shootout with policemen while 11 AK 47 rifles and 17 assorted illicit firearms, 480 different calibres of ammunition were recovered from the suspected criminals.
On how Mitchel’s gang’s victim was able to escape, he said the girl escaped with a ladder she sighted within an uncompleted building where she was held hostage, recalling that four of the kidnappers, who raped her, were fast asleep when the victim escaped.
He said, “She (victim) then followed the sound of vehicles she was hearing from the road and got to the main road, saw a man driving a car, waved the car down and told the driver that she escaped from kidnappers’ den.
“She appealed to the driver of the car to help her call her father, who is a pastor in Bayelsa State. The Good Samaritan called the father of the victim and told him the development and the father directed the man to take her daughter to any nearby police station.
“Before then, the kidnappers had already put a call across to the father of their victim, demanding for ransom of N10m. They equally forwarded an account number detail to the victim’s father.
“One of the kidnapers (Godwin Pina) went to the bank immediately he noticed that the sum of N50,000 had been paid into the account for the upkeep of their victim, pending when the ransom demanded would be raised.
When the suspected was arrested, he then opened up that their boss, Mitchel, was staying in Okrika. Then the Anti-kidnapping unit moved to Abam in Okrika and arrested Mitchel and 10 other boys in his house.
“Two AK 47 rifles were recovered from him. On interrogation, he (Mitchel) said he had other two AK 47 rifles with one Iyalla Appolos somewhere in Azubokwe. We moved in there and Iyalla was arrested and the two AK 47 rifles were recovered from him,” Muhammad added.