Funds stall police investigation into murder of 5 “witches” in C/River

SP Ugbo said the current state of the investigation required inputs of medical professionals, but that the command did not have money to engage their services.

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Paucity of funds is stalling police investigations into the alleged murder of five persons in Ndong Nwong community in Odukpani Local Government Area of the state over allegations of witchcraft.

The Nigeria Police Command in the state needs money to conduct autopsies on the corpses.

The Police spokesperson in the state, SP Irene Ugbo said in Calabar on Saturday that though investigation was on-going, there was an urgent need to conduct autopsies on the corpses of the alleged witches who were murdered.

She also dispelled the rumour making the rounds that some vested interests were working to compromise the investigation.

Youths allegedly accused 15 persons in the community of possessing witchcraft and they took the suspects into a forest where five of them were murdered.

The youths also held three police officers sent to investigate the matter hostage for hours before they were rescued by an anti-cultism and kidnapping squad, led by SP Awodi Abdulhameed.

The team made several arrests in the community after rescuing the three police officers.

Since the arrest and subsequent interrogation of the suspects by the police, however, there had been concerns over the handling of the matter.

SP Ugbo said the current state of the investigation required inputs of medical professionals, but that the command did not have money to engage their services.

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“The job requires a lot of hands, especially health workers that will dig up the graves and fumigate the location and a pathologist that will carry out a post-mortem.

“We know that there are organisations who can assist the police in making the process easier and faster; we urgently need a pathologist to carry out autopsies before we can proceed on the investigation,’’ she said.

Ugbo said there was nothing like a compromise in the investigation as the police would ensure the conclusion of the case.

“There won’t be any form of compromise on the part of the police.

“The SP Awodi-led unit has professionals and would handle the matter in accordance with international best practices; there won’t be any form of interference,’’ she assured.