Following Wednesday's bloody attack on a court-bound Nigerian Prisons van in Warri by bandits believed to be in alliance with some inmates of Warri Prison, the police yesterday said their manhunt for the culprits had yielded some dividends.
The police said in Warri that four persons had been arrested in connection with the early morning operation which took place at Okere Roundabout, a stone-throw from the Warri Prison, during a round-the-clock joint police and military offensive against the hoodlums.
Beside, some ammunition and other valuables, including the vehicle with which the criminals used in the dastardly operation were recovered and they are presently at the Police Area Command office.
The Area Commander, Delta South, Mr. Huseini Rabiu, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), who confirmed this development to journalists in Warri yesterday, said that a corpse believed to be that of a notorious kidnapper was also recovered during the security operation.
He said the surveillance team caught up with two of the bandits at Eku, on the Sapele-Abraka Road where they were apprehended.
Rabiu, who also paraded an red-colour Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) allegedly snatched from the owner and used by the criminals to perpetrate their act, assured the people that the police would not rest until other criminals still at large were arrested and brought to book.
The police commissioner said the owner of the vehicle was injured but had been rescued by the security operatives.
"No evil person will go unpunished," Rabiu said, adding "Above all, my men have spread out their dragnet to apprehend the fleeing hoodlums and there will be no hiding place for them.
In a related development, a lecturer with the engineering department of the Petroleum Training Institute, Effurun, near Warri was reportedly hit and killed by stray bullets from the fleeing armed men who attacked the prison officials and rescued some inmates being taken to court on Wednesday.
The incident occurred at Effurun Roundabout while the innocent man was driving in his Toyota SUV.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Comptroller of Prisons (DCP) at the Warri Prison, Mr. Emmanuel Maido, has expressed sadness and regrets over the incident, describing it as unprecedented in the city.
He lamented the loss of his men, even as the entire prison officials have been thrown into mourning.
Speaking with THISDAY on Wednesday, ACP Rabiu, said information available to the police showed that two prison wardens and an inmate who was being taken with others to an undisclosed court in the district were killed instantly when the gunmen launched the attack.
Rabiu also said three other prison officials who sustained various degrees of gunshot injuries were receiving medical treatment at an undisclosed hospital in the area.
He further disclosed that "three of the prison inmates, who fled with the attackers after the encounter, have been re-arrested by the police and handed over to the Prisons Department in Warri."