Molly Kilete, Abuja
The police, on Monday, paraded 60 suspected robbers and kidnappers terrorising motorists and other road users in Niger, Kaduna, Sokoto and Zamfara states.
A total of 31 firearms and various rounds of ammunition were recovered from the suspects.
According to the police, the recovered weapons include 10 AK47 rifles, nine AK49, one Ak103, one pump-action weapon, Berretta pistols and locally fabricated firearms, 355 live cartridges and 479 rounds of live ammunition.
Parading the suspects before newsmen at the Police Divisional Headquarters, Katari, Kaduna State, Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), DCP Frank Mba, said the arrest was made possible through the on-going Operation Puff Adder launched to smash kidnappers and other criminals along the Abuja/Kaduna expressway.
He said the police decided to parade the suspects at Katari because, before now, Katari used to be the unofficial headquarters for kidnappers, until the launch of Operation Puff Adder.
According to Mba, “Between now and the last briefing, 60 male suspects were implicated in several cases of conspiracy, homicide, armed robbery and kidnapping.
“Thirty-one weapons were recovered from the suspects, 10 AK47, nine AK49 as well as one AK103 rifle. A pump-action weapon, Berretta pistols and locally fabricated firearms, 355 live cartridges, 479 live ammunition of AK47 and AK49 were also recovered from the suspects.”
He also said that one Haruna Saidu was arrested in Kaduna while trying to smuggle arms in a concealed compartment under his motorcycle seat to Niger State, noting that two AK47 rifles and five magazines containing 30 rounds of live ammunition were recovered from the suspect.
Furthermore, he said while investigation has been concluded in some of the cases, others were on-going and the suspects would be charged to court as soon as investigation is complete.
He said the operational vehicles recently launched by President Muhammadu Buhari have been fully deployed, especially the CCTV on the move, which has played a key role in police tactical teams’ apprehension of suspects in different parts of the country.
In an interview with journalists, one of the suspects, Saidu, said he was given the arms and ammunition by one Shuibu to take to Niger State but was arrested by the police before he could make the delivery.
Another suspect, Jamilu Iliya, confessed to having been arrested in Sokoto with four AK47 rifles and 223 rounds of ammunition, reportedly given to him by one Watti, identified as an armed robbery kingpin, in Zamfara, who paid him N90,000 to deliver the arms.
Also another suspect, Ibrahim Idris, admitted to being involved kidnapping in the Maraba-Jos area of Kaduna State. He confessed that he participated in two kidnappings with his gang using two AK47 and collected N150,000 and N1 million as ransom.
According to him, the gang had kidnapped a woman and two of her children and shot the husband, even as they collected ransom.