The 222 Battalion of Nigerian Army says its troops tracked and killed Austin Agulegbu, a top member of a notorious cultist gang that allegedly masterminded the New Year Day killings in Omoku, Rivers State.
The army said this in a statement issued on Thursday issued by Aminu Iliyasu, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations.
Mr. Iliyasu, a colonel, said the suspect was killed in Delta state in conjunction with operatives of the Department of State Service, Rivers State Command during the early hours of Wednesday.
The statement said the suspect was the Chief Security Officer to late Don Waney and the sixth in command of the criminal gang.
"After a painstaking effort by the security agencies, Austin was traced to his hideout at a location along New Sapele Road, Obiaruku in Ukwani Local Government Area (LGA) in Delta State in the early hours of February 14, 2018.
"He was among the killer squad that killed 23 worshippers returning from the cross-over vigil on January 1, 2018 at Omoku, Rivers State," Mr. Iliyasu said.
The army said the suspected cultist and his members were planning a reprisal attack on security agencies, worship centres and schools in Rivers state.
"Reliable information also has it that he and other gang members still at large were already making plans to attack security agencies locations, churches and schools within Rivers State as a reprisal to the clamp down on their remnants now at large.
"Agulegbu was however shot in an encounter with the security operatives and died before reaching the hospital. His body has been brought to Port Harcourt and handed over to the Rivers State Police Command," army said.
Johnson Igwediba, popularly known as Don Wanny and his notorious criminal cult group were the perpetrators of the heinous killings of 23 innocent residents of Omoku in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, of Rivers State, on January 1, 2018.