According to a report by The PUNCH, the Ondo State Security Network Agency, codenamed Amotekun Corps, on Thursday said some suspects have been arrested in connection with the terrorist attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo.
Terrorists invaded the church on June 5, 2022, killing no fewer than 40 people and injuring many other worshippers.
The state commander of Amotekun, Adetunji Adeleye, told journalists in Akure on Thursday that some suspects had been arrested in connection with the attack without giving further details about the number of suspects arrested and their current location.
The Olowo of Owo kingdom, Oba Ajibade Ogunoye; the chairman of the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Anselm Ologunwa; and the Director of Social Communications of the Catholic Diocese of Ondo, Rev. Fr. Augustine Ikwu, have however said they were not aware of the arrest.
Adeleye spoke about the arrest while parading 71 men who were arrested for various criminal activities across the state.
He said, “As regards the Owo incident, we have recovered the last vehicle they used for that operation and we made some arrests and we have also recovered some vital things which we are working on.
“A number of people have been arrested concerning the Owo issue as well as a number of equipment. On that day, we pursued them to the point that we recovered the vehicle and we are still pursing them.
“We have told you that until we get to the root, I can assure you that the perpetrators and their sponsors will be brought to book.”
On the 71 suspects paraded, Adeleye explained that the suspects were arrested within the last one month for various offences including armed robbery, cattle rustling, kidnapping, rape and human trafficking.
He added, “The 71 suspects were picked while committing offences and others were tracked to their hideouts in the forests. We have been able to get a cartel that specialises in stealing and dismantling motor bikes which we all know as okada. Also we were able to recover over 50 bikes during the operation from these criminals.
“We also got reports from some herdsmen that their cattle were stolen. We went after them and brought the cows back to the herdsmen.
“We have a group of small boys who are under 18 years that turned themselves into a cartel of criminals in a particular local government in Ondo State and armed themselves. They actually belong to a cult group called ‘Agbado’. We were able to arrest 12 out of the 17 members.
“We have about three to four suspected kidnappers and we intend to take most of these suspects, especially the ones we have concluded their investigations, to the Director of Public Prosecution and for their onward prosecution in court.”
We’re not aware
Meanwhile, Oba Ogunoye, in an interview with The PUNCH, said he had not been informed about the arrest of suspects in connection with the Owo attack.
The monarch, in a telephone interview with our correspondent, said, “I can’t confirm it (the arrest) because I have not been informed by the security people. I just read it on the social media but we will be patient for the security agency on it.”
Also, the state chairman of CAN, Ologunwa, said, “I don’t have such information and I can’t comment on the matter. I will implore us to be patient, let us have the details of the matter.”
When contacted, the spokesman of the Catholic Diocese of Ondo, Ikwu, simply said, “I have not been informed.”