From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Troops of the Operation Whirl Stroke(OPWS) have reportedly neutralized three suspected kidnappers in Zaki-Biam, Ukum local government area of Benue State.
The heavily armed suspected kidnappers, according to sources from the area, stormed the town in a Toyota Corolla and abducted one Omemma Chimobi, an Igbo trader on Tuesday and were on their way out of the town when troops of the military spike operation intercepted them.
Benue State Security Adviser, Lt.Col. Paul Hemba jretd), disclosed that the troops acted on intelligence information and trailed the kidnappers until they were able to intercept them.
Hemba told newsmen by telephone that three of the bandits were killed when they engaged troops in a gun duel while the abductee was rescued alive.
“On a tip off information, troops of sub-sector 2, Zaki Baim trailed the bandits through yam market road as they were looking for escape routes.
“On sighting troops, the bandits opened fire from inside the red toyota corolla wagon but troops returned superior fire power and neutralize three of the bandits and the kidnapped victim, Omemma Chimobi was rescued in the vehicle,” Hemba disclosed.
Contacted, the Force Commander, OPWS, Maj. Gen. Kevin Aligbe who confirmed the report listed items recovered from the suspects to include one AK 47 rifle, 3 Magazines with rounds ,1 Toyota Corolla vehicle,Charms and FCMB ATM card bearing Felix Terzengwe on it.
“In furtherance to the on going fight against armed banditry, troops of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) in a swift response to a distressed call on kidnapping along Zaki-Biam – Ugba local government area of Benue state, gave a hot chase and engaged the bandits in a heavy fire fight and which led to the death of the leader of the group identified as Mr Odada and two other armed bandits dressed in full military uniform.”
The Force Commander, in a statement by the Operation’s Public Relations Officer, Flying Officer Audu Katty stated that the troops rescued one Mr Chimobi Omemma who was kidnapped on his way from Afia to Zaki-Biam to buy spare parts for his business.
The statement which was made available to newsmen on Thursday afternoon added that, “The Force Commander OPWS, Major General Kevin Aligbe, reiterates that, OPWS remains resolute in ensuring peace and stability in the state as this will encourage all meaningful Nigerians can go about their legitimate businesses and allow economic activities to thrive.”