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Jubilation in Umuahia as police confirm rescue of four stolen kids, nab suspects



Four children stolen on December 16, 2024, at Ubakala street, Ossah road in Umuahia, Abia State have been rescued by the Abia State Police Command.

Also, one Ifeoma Abonyi, the new tenant that took the children, has been apprehended in far away Asaba, Delta State.

A press statement signed by the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, of Abia State Police Command, ASP Maureen Chinaka, on behalf of the Commissioner of Police, said the rescue of the children and the arrest of the eight suspects in the matter was achieved by robust technical intelligence of the Abia Police Command, with support from the Department of State Services, DSS.

The statement also disclosed that six other children were found in the custody of the arrested suspects.

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The statement read:

“On 16 December, 2023, one Mrs. Ifeanyi Udoma Ibe (female) of Ubakala Street, Ossai Road, Umuahia, reported the abduction of her children and her neighbours’ children by an unidentified tenant. In response to the complaint, the Abia State Police Command commenced investigation into the incident.

“Leveraging robust technical intelligence support from the DSS in Abia State, on 22 December, 2023, police detectives from Abia State Police Command, successfully apprehended one Ifeoma Abonyi, a 35-year-old female in Asaba, Delta State. Ifeoma Abonyi has been identified as the hitherto unknown tenant responsible for the abduction of the four children on 16/12/23.

“We are happy to inform the public that all the four missing children stolen on 16 December 2023 have now been rescued. Two of the children were rescued on 22 December 2023, while another two were rescued today 24 December, 2023.

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“A total of eight suspects (five females and three males) are currently helping the police with the investigation into the crime.

“Three other persons suspected to be complicit in the crime are still at large. We are intensifying efforts to ensure their arrest soon.

“Meanwhile, an investigation is ongoing to determine the real status of six other children that were found in the custody of the arrested suspects. This might entail the conduct of DNA tests, as some of the suspects are claiming that the children are their biological offspring. We shall keep the public informed of the outcome of the investigation as soon as possible.”

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The rescue threw the town into wild jubilation, with many residents describing the development as “Perfect Christmas” from God, while praising the Abia State Police Command for the good news.

One of the residents, Mr Barry Odinkemmere of the South-East Fact Check, who spoke to newsmen Sunday night, said there was also hope that the first set of four kids stolen on November 27 by an unknown tricycle operator would also be found.