Two hundred and seventy-five persons among those held by the Police in Rivers State on the suspicion that they are members of the dreaded Boko Haram group, have been released.
Deputy Commissioner State Criminal Investigation Department (DC/CID), Sam Ukaula told reporters in Port Harcourt yesterday that 19 of those arrested are being held for further interrogation.
The arrest of the people travelling in buses on the Rivers –Imo border, has generated huge interest. The House of Representatives has ordered as probe into the
Ukaula said the 19, whose mission in Port Harcourt was not clear, include an illegal immigrant from Niger Republic. One of them, he said, had spent ammunition on him.
The police officer said the interception of the vehicles and arrest of the occupants was necessitated by information to Commissioner of Police Mbu Joseph Mbu, that a great number of the killer squads had been dispatched to cause havoc on Port Harcourt residents.
He explained that the action of the Police was meant to nip the intended trouble in the bud. He absolved the police of political connection.
Earlier reports said those arrested were 320, but Ukaula said yesterday that they were 294.
The suspects were arrested on Sunday morning at the boundary between Imo and Rivers states, in a convoy of 17 buses from Jigawa state. They were held at the state CID until they were screened and freed.
Ukaula said a team of security agencies in the state, including the Army, Police Immigration, customs and SSS assembled to screen the suspects before the 275 could be released.
He said: “It would be recalled that on Friday night of January 24, 2014, the Commissioner of Police received an alarming information that members of Boko Haram were being massively transported to Rivers state particularly, Port Harcourt from certain parts of the country for the purpose of causing havoc on innocent citizens.