Chidiebube Okeoma, Owerri There was drama in Owerri, the Imo state capital, on Friday when operatives of the state police command intercepted a convoy carrying the corpse of a 39-year-old man, Kingsley Egwim, home for funeral rites. The convoy, which was conveying the corpse from Rivers State to Amauziri in the Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State, was accosted at Tetlow by Bank Raod in Owerri by cops who were on a stop-and-search duty. On being searched, a pistol with some live bullets was discovered in one of the buses in the convoy. Upon the discovery, the police arrested the corpse and the mourners and marched them to the state police command headquarters. The development attracted residents, who trooped out to watch the drama. A police source told Southern City News that the testimony of one of the arrested persons made the operatives to force open the casket, leading to the discovery of a pistol with police insignia. The source said, “While on a stop-and-search duty, the operatives of the command intercepted a convoy conveying a corpse home. “Their attire and disposition raised the curiosity of the men and we quickly flagged them down. While their vehicles were ransacked, a pistol and bullets were recovered. “We quickly marched them to the state command headquarters, where we forcefully opened the casket and found a pistol with police insignia on it. The pistol was with the corpse inside the casket. “From preliminary investigation, the youths, numbering 72 – both male and female – are members of a cult group from Rivers State, who were possibly attending the funeral of one of their members. “What a pistol was doing inside a casket is what we do not understand. The pistol has police insignia, meaning that they might have killed a police officer and took his pistol or they stole it from policemen after attacking them.” When our correspondent visited the command headquarters, the suspected cultists were seen being interrogated by operatives of the command. Another source told our correspondent that the tattoos and knives cults on the bodies of the suspects indicated that they were dreaded cultists. Southern City News gathered that the Commissioner of Police in the state, Dansuki Galandanchi, ordered the release of the corpse around 4pm for funeral rites when the widow and father of the deceased came to the police command to identify the deceased. Our correspondent saw some relatives of the deceased carrying the casket out of the command headquarters while police impounded the ambulance and other vehicles the suspects were arrested in. The wife of the dead and her father were seen walking behind those carrying the casket out from the police premises. The Police Public Relations Officer, Andrew Enwerem, said two pistols, one with police insignia, and 44 rounds of live ammunition, were recovered from the suspects. Enwerem, who said the arrest was as a result of the community policing strategy of the CP, gave the assurance that the suspects would be charged to court at the end of investigation.
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