Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Department of State Services (DSS) has revealed that it has arrested five members of the notorious Gemere kidnap gang that abducted some Canadians and Americans along the Abuja-Kaduna road.
In a statement signed by its spokesperson Tony Opuiyo, the services disclosed that in furtherance of its commitment to ensure adequate security in the country, it had arrested several kidnap kingpins terrorizing Nigerians in various parts of the country, including associates of the notorious kidnapper Terwase Akwaza (aka ‘Ghana’) who is on the most wanted list of security agencies.
“The DSS has sustained its counter operations against kidnapping, armed robbery and cattle-rustling in parts of the Federation. These strategic operations carried out by the Service from the end of last year, 2017 to this period, February, 2018, led to the containment and neutralization of the criminal elements,” the spokesman said.
“On February 21, 2018, at Igu area of Benin City, Edo State, the Service arrested five members of the notorious Gemere kidnap gang which operates along the Lokoja – Okene highway. Those arrested are: Usman Umaru aka Dan Gurgu; Abubakar Umaru; Garba Umar aka Smally; Abubakar Garba; and Umar Bello.
“This gang was responsible for the kidnap of some Canadians and Americans along the Abuja–Kaduna road. It would be recalled that the Service had on January 20, 2018, intercepted the leader of the gang, Abubakar Muhammed (aka Gemere) along the Lokoja – Okene highway where he was killed in a gun battle with operatives.
“It would be recalled that the Service had on January 20, 2018, intercepted the leader of the gang, Abubakar Muhammed (aka Gemere) along the Lokoja – Okene highway where he was killed in a gun battle with operatives.
“On February 25, 2018, at Takum in Taraba State, a joint team of Service operatives and the Military arrested 23 year old Isaiah Suwe, who led the team to Gbise Village, Katsina Ala LGA, Benue State where the underlisted gang members were also arrested:
“Barnabas Torva Amadu (aka Ataminin); Aondi Tersoo (21 Years old); Nengenen Mbaawuaga Damian (22 Years old); Aondoase Kayitor (18 years old); and Ternenge Tersoo (19 Years old). Suwe is an accomplice of notorious kidnapper, Terwase Akwaza (aka Ghana) who is on the wanted list of security agencies, while Amadu, also aged 23, participated in the kidnap and murder, in January 2018 of Hosea Ibi, a Member of the Taraba State House of Assembly.
“About nine SIM cards, different telephone brands and accessories as well as a First Bank ATM Card, a flash drive, one Voter’s card and one ID card belonging to Moses S. Yaro, a member of Vigilante Group of Nigeria in Taraba State were recovered from the gang.
“Similarly, on February 20, 2018, at Ambaliya area of Jalingo, Taraba State, the Service arrested Mohammed Babangida Ismail while in possession of some firearms. He is further being investigated.
“At Ekeki, Yenagoa, a notorious kidnapper, Anthony Kio Elegwe was arrested by the Service on February 22, 2018. Elegwe is a 37 year old Engineer who hails from Oyigba Community, Ahoada-West LGA of Rivers State. Early checks have confirmed his involvement in several kidnap activities particularly those of Grace Omietimi, mother of James Omietimi, Head of Clinical Services, Federal Medical Center (FMC), Yenagoa and Marie Ebikake, former Commissioner for Transport in the Governor Seriake Dickson administration,” the statement read.
Ejike disclosing other arrests made by the service noted that “On February 17, 2018, at Irrua, Edo State, operatives arrested another gang of high profile kidnappers who dominated the Kogi and Edo corridors. Those arrested are Umar Abubakar (aka Small), Abubakar Ahmadu (aka Sarkin Yaki), Aliyu Abubakar (aka Koroko), Aliyu Mohammed (aka Chogo) and Abubakar Umaru (aka Bokolori). This gang was responsible for several kidnap incidents particularly those of Sylvester Ayodele ARISE (Sen) along the Ibillo – Magongo highway as well as Kelechi Odo and Azubuike Odo along the Okene – Lokoja expressway.
“Also on February 15, 2018, at Benin City, Edo State, the Service arrested one Junior Asemota, a member of the Eiye Confraternity and a notorious kidnapper and armed robber who was suspected to have killed a staff of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
“Earlier in the year, on January 4, 2018, at the Old Mammy Market located at the Chari Maigumari Barracks, Otokiti, Adavi LGA of Kogi State, the Service arrested the quartet of Mohammed Kabir (aka Master and Nicko), Muhammed Musa (aka World Best), Audu Emmanuel (aka Sneider) and Jallo Yunusa. The suspects are notorious for robbing and/or kidnapping commuters in Kogi State and its environs.
“In a similar operation on January 14, 2018, another high profile kidnapper, Yusuf Magaji was arrested along the Abuja-Lokoja Road for the kidnap of Donald Osaro Adeyan (Dr.), a lecturer at the Kogi State University, Anyingba and Jonathan Tolorunse, a Nigeria Army Warrant Officer serving at the Command Army Record, Lokoja, alongside four others on January 5, 2018.
“Shortly before the 2017 yuletide and New Year festivities, the Service between December 4 and 6, 2017 had confrontations with fleeing criminals which resulted in the deaths of Ahmadu Sulaiman (aka Oga) and Shumo Haruna (aka Halilu Aliyu).
“The suspects had engaged operatives in gun duels at Rugan Fulani, Gidan Gwari, outskirts of Ajaokuta LGA and Ganaja Junction, Lokoja, Kogi State respectively. They actively participated in the Kidnap of a Canadian national – Benjamin Wheller on September 20, 2017 as well as the Kidnap/killing of a Chinese Expatriate – Liaolun Song and his police orderly, Mathew Yahaya along Ajaokuta Road on September 14, 2017.
“It is noteworthy that Sulaiman’s father, Suleiman Adamu (aka Soja) a known kidnap kingpin died in a gun duel with security agencies while trying to evade arrest at Ajaokuta, on October 23, 2017.
“On December 13, 2017, notorious kidnapper and armed robber, Abdullahi Abdlkadir (aka ‘Maijaki’) was killed during an armed contest with security operatives at Ero Community, Ajaokuta LGA, Kogi State, being an accomplice to Sulaiman and Haruna. His other operations were carried out mostly along the Lokoja – Ajaokuta and Osaro- Kabba roads in Kogi state and University Road in Ilorin, Kwara State. He was a participant in the killing of the Chinese Expatriate and his police orderly.
“On December 14, 2017, in Adavi LGA, Kogi State, Umar ABUBAKAR (aka ‘Yellow’), a kidnapper and associate of notorious kidnapper/Cattle Rustler, Buhari General, was shot and killed in a gun battle. The duo of Abubakar and Buhari are responsible for many killings and rustling of cattle in the Zamfara axis.
“They had planned several kidnap attacks in Edo State during the 2017 end of year celebrations, but the vigilance and persistence of security operatives deterred the execution of the planned actions.
“While the Service pledges to consolidate on its successes, it wishes to reaffirm its commitment to the safety of all citizens and residents. It therefore calls on the public to remain vigilant and report suspicious persons or activities to the nearest security formations,” the statement read.