Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Police Command has smashed a kidnapping syndicate terrorising the people of Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states.
The successful operation with the collaboration operatives of the IGP Intelligence Response Team (IRT) saw to the arrest of the ringleaders of the notorious kidnapping syndicate and other suspects.
The spokesman of the Bayelsa State Police Command, Mr Asinim Butwats, said the operation was carried out with the aid of technical intelligence generated from the IGP Technical Intelligence Unit.
According to him, the suspects arrested include one Longjohn Franklin aka General Soft aged 24-years-old from Abalamabie Community, Bonny Local Government Area, Rivers State.
He said Franklin is an ex-convict and the head of the kidnappers camp in the creeks who also engage in sea piracy and illegal oil refining.
Also arrested are Goodluck Ikiyou aka Lastborn aged 30-years-old from Azuzuama Community, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, Chilowe Augustine aged 19-years-old from Edeoha Community, Ahoada East Local Government Area, Rivers State and Thankgod Manacssh aka Axeman aged 28-years-old from Opobo town in Opobo-Nkoro Local Government Area of Rivers State believed to be second in command of the deadly Iceland confraternity.
Others are a female Ogeneima Omoni, aged 24, from Ogbokuma Community Abua/Odual Local Government Area Rivers State, who cooks for the kidnappers in their den and Chimaobi Nmeribe aged 47 from Umuahia-South Local Government Area of Abia State.
Butswat, who disclosed that the suspects have given useful statements, had identified Innocent Awelo Luke, Anthony Awelo Luke, Makiava and Ndubisi; a dismissed Civil Defence officer, as fleeing gang members.
He said exhibits recovered include two(2) Toyota vehicles, and pictorial and video evidence of the gang leaders, Franklin and Chilowe, displaying ransom collected from a kidnapped victim.
Efforts are still ongoing to arrest the fleeing members of the crime syndicate.