By NGOZI UWUJARE
Young female adults and teenagers in Niger State can now have some relief following the arrest of over 20 men, belonging to a gang that specialized in abducting adolescent ladies for ransom and raping.
The cookie began to crumble for the members of the kidnap ring when the Anti-Kidnapping Squad, AKS, of the Niger State Police Command made a breakthrough in the investigation it launched to unmask the brains behind the growing menace of abduction of adolescent girls, whose families were made to pay ransom even as the girls were raped while in the custody of their abductors.
In one particular incident that took place in Wamba village in Mariga Local Government Area, Niger State, the victim, 20-year-old Aisha Mohammed, was kidnapped and her father, Alhaji Buba Mohammed, was asked to pay N5 million ransom.
In the course of investigation, as Sunday Sun learnt from the Niger State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Zubairu Muazu, the AKS arrested six of the kidnappers, who were Fulani herdsmen.
The squad also arrested two other members, Ibrahim and Duga Jaga, and rescued their victim before ransom could be paid. The victim was promptly taken to the hospital for treatment. Police recovered AK47 and pump-action rifles from the suspected kidnappers.
Furthermore, four other members of the gang, Iliyasu, Maina, Tukur and Yusuf Mohammed, a native of Jere in Kaduna State, were also arrested by the police. The police boss said that on June 7, 2017, they attacked one Idris Audu Fulani of Nanati Kaffia Koro village in Paiko Local Government Area, armed with AK 47 rifles, cutlasses and a cattle-rearer’s stick. He said that they robbed the victim of N95,000 and also abducted two of his daughters.
Upon receiving the distress call from the family, AKS operatives mobilized and traced the kidnappers to the bush, where they stormed their hideout and arrested the suspects.
He added that another team of AKS operatives intercepted kidnappers in Sabo Lahu Gurar Local Government Area, who had abducted two victims, 25-year-old Sarah Abdullahi and Habila Abdullahi, 23, and attempted to rape them. Luckily they were rescued. Some of the abductors escaped but one of them sustained severe gunshot wound and was arrested.
The same gang was said to have kidnapped 15-year-old Halila Ismaila, a native of Bosso Local Government Area on June 2, 2017, and inflicted serious injuries on her before the police rescued her from the gang’s hideout. One locally made shotgun was recovered from the hideout.
Recounting more of the evil acts of Fulani herdsmen, Muzau stated that Mallam Sani, the father of two other victims, Hassana Sani, 20, and Hadiza Sani, 26, was asked to pay a huge amount before his daughters would be released. Rather than yield to the demand, he reported the matter to the police in Lapai community.
The AKS in collaboration with the military personnel attached to Lapai Local Government Area combed the bushes and stormed the hideout of the kidnappers, where they rescued the victims. They arrested three of the kidnappers and recovered AK 47 rifles and ammunition.
Muazu gave the names of other arrested kidnappers as Abubakar Mohammed, Mohammed Lawal, Lawali Usman, Shehu Paye, Sule Ado, Weti Adamu, and Abubakar Sherif. They were arrested opposite a popular hospital while waiting to pick up a ransom. The police recovered AK47 rifles, 59 rounds of live ammunition and a Dane gun. They also rescued the two victims from their hideout.
The police boss assured that the suspects would be arraigned in court after the completion of investigations.