• As efforts to end kidnappers’ reign on Abuja/Kaduna highway intensify
From Molly Kilete, Abuja
The “Operation Absolute Sanity” launched by the Nigeria Police to rout kidnappers and other criminals terrorising communities, motorists and commuters along the Abuja-Kaduna highway, has yielded fruit with the arrest of Aliyu Bello, described as the grand commander of kidnappers in the zone.
Bello, according to the police, was in charge of virtually all the kidnap groups operating along the Abuja-Kaduna expressway and adjoining villages.
Also arrested was the chief armourer of one of the notorious groups, Mohammadu Majuma, and the intelligence officer, Abdulahi Adamu, along with 38 other members of the gang.
The suspects were arrested at various villages along the Abuja-Kaduna highway, where they had their operational bases.
Items recovered from them include three double-barrel guns, two single-barrel guns, one assault rifle mounted with telescope, one locally-made revolver pistol with 9.62 ammunition, pump-action rifle, locally-made 5MG, 30 live cartridges, assorted ammunition, two magazines, assorted charms, five laptops, three iPads, assorted mobile telephone handsets, jewelry and wristwatches, among others.
Parading the 40 suspects at Rijana village, along the Abuja-Kaduna highway, Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, said most of the suspects had confessed to the crime, revealing that those nabbed operated in different groups along the expressway.
Jimoh, who said the police had taken over bushes by the highway, said efforts were on to arrest the sponsors of the group, who were still at large.
While assuring road users of their safety on the Kaduna-Abuja highway and other highways across the country, as the police had intensified patrols, the police spokesman called on villagers and community leaders in crime-prone areas to collaborate with the police and other security agencies to rid their localities of criminals.
In an interview with journalists, the armourer said he also responsible for servicing, maintaining and issuing weapons to kidnappers in the area. He added that he bought sophisticated guns from Mararaba Loco, in Nasarawa State, ranging from N500,000, depending on the grade.
The suspect said he had been in the business of selling guns to interested persons for five years, and he sold his weapons at the rate of N550,000 or N600,000, depending on the buyer.
On his part, the chief intelligence officer of the kidnap group, who said he kept 24-hour watch on their operational base, said he used telescopes to survey the area.
According to him, with the telescope mounted on his gun, he was able to spot strange movement around the area. Whenever he spotted intruders, including security agents, he usually shot them.
The Force PRO said the suspects, who are helping the police in investigations, would be charged to court as soon as investigations were concluded.
He also said some of the victims attacked by the suspects had identified them.