From Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Nigeria Police Force headquarters in Abuja said operatives of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) have smashed a notorious kidnapping gang terrorising the people of Taraba State, arresting eleven members of the gang.
Force spokesman Frank Mba, who made the announcement, said the IRT operatives working alongside men of the Taraba State Police Command recovered seven AK-47 rifles, two Beretta pistols, 121 rounds of live ammunition of different calibre, four magazines, masks, illicit drugs and other incriminating items during a raid of various criminal hideouts in the state.
Mba gave the names of the arrested to include suspects, Luka Adam, Shuaibu Nuhu, Moses Amos, Peters Mashi, Ahmadu Mallam, Adamu Mohammed, Dahiru Mallam Dalha, Gambo Isah, Sanusi Ahmadu, Mallam Mohammed and Mauludu, Ibrahim Idi, all indigenes of Taraba State.
He said the suspects, who have been on the police wanted list of the police for some time, were linked to the recent upsurge in incidents of kidnapping in the State, including the deliberate and calculated attacks on security personnel.
Mba said ‘Investigations also revealed how two (2) of the suspects, Gambo Isah and Sanusi Ahmadu masterminded the killing of the Police Sergeant and left a Police Inspector with gunshot injuries in their recent operation to enable them to escape arrest having abducted some victims in Jalingo recently.
‘Investigations further revealed that the modi operandi of the suspects include trailing individuals – business owners, government functionaries, motorists with flashy and exotic cars, etc – to their houses and thereafter planning and executing the kidnap of such persons. They also collect huge sums of money as ransom from relatives and friends of their victims before their release.’
The police in the course of investigations equally identified and raided various criminal hideouts where kidnap victims are usually kept. While cache of weapons and other incriminating items were recovered from the hideouts, all the kidnap victims held hostage at the various hideouts were carefully and successfully rescued unhurt and reunited with their families. Meanwhile, investigators are intensifying efforts at arresting other suspects currently at large.
‘The IGP, while commending the good people of Taraba State for supporting the police, especially in providing useful information that aided the prompt apprehension of the suspects, assured that the Police will continue to work with all stakeholders in deepening the collective safety of the Taraba people. The IGP condoled the family of the late Sergeant Ogidi Habu and added that the Force will sustain efforts at improving public safety in all Nigerian communities.
‘All the suspects will be charged to court on completion of investigations,’ the statement concluded.