The Imo State Police Command has arrested four Catholic priests and eight others for allegedly masterminding the protest that led to the shooting of the Ahiazu Mbaise Divisional Police Officer, Mr. Danjuma Ragga. Ragga, a Chief Superintendent of Police, was allegedly shot by irate diocesan youths on Saturday during the protest. In a statement on Monday, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Andrew Enwerem, said the Vicar General of the Ezinihite Diocese, Reverend Father Clement Ebii, had hosted the National President of the Catholic Women Organisation of the Saint Rose Catholic Church.
On getting the information, the youths, who gathered at the Mater Ecclesiae Catholic Cathedral in Ahiazu Mbaise LGA, had marched to the Ezinihite parish to stop the hosting of the CWO national president. It was gathered that they set up bonfires, barricaded the highway, and disrupted the peace of the town.
To restore peace to the area, Ragga was said to have drafted a team of policemen from the division to urge the protesters to desist from engaging in violence as the matter was being looked into by the Catholic hierarchy.
It was gathered that the youths, led by a reverend father, defied the appeal of the DPO as they started hauling missiles at the police and threatening to burn down police patrol vans. They also allegedly threatened to disarm the police officers involved in the operation.
It was alleged that the DPO was later shot in the leg and hand during the protest. Further attempts to restore peace were allegedly rebuffed by the protesting youths.
Meanwhile, the state Commissioner of Police, Taiwo Lakanu, said the command would not tolerate a situation where youths would resort to violence to settle differences.
He said, "I assure you that all those involved in the shooting of the DPO will be fished out and prosecuted. I, hereby, order that the cathedral be put under lock and key to avoid further violence."