From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Troops of the Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) have reportedly neutralised three suspected kidnappers in Zaki-Biam, Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State.
The heavily armed suspected kidnappers, according to sources from the area, stormed the town in a Toyota Corolla and abducted one Omemma Chimobi, an Igbo trader, on Tuesday, and were on their way out of the town when troops of the military spike operation intercepted them.
Benue State Security Adviser, Lt.Col. Paul Hemba (retd), disclosed that the troops acted on intelligence information and trailed the kidnappers until they were able to intercept them.
Hemba told newsmen by telephone that three of the bandits were killed when they engaged troops in a gun duel, while the abductee was rescued alive.
“On a tip off, troops of Sub-Sector 2, Zaki Biam, trailed the bandits through Yam Market Road as they were looking for escape routes. On sighting troops, the bandits opened fire from inside the red Toyota Corolla wagon, but troops returned superior fire power and neutralised three of the bandits and the kidnapped victim, Omemma Chimobi, was rescued in the vehicle,” Hemba disclosed.
The Force Commander, OPWS, Maj. Gen. Kevin Aligbe, who confirmed the report, listed items recovered from the suspects to include one AK 47 rifle, three Magazines with rounds, one Toyota Corolla vehicle, charms and FCMB ATM card bearing Felix Terzengwe on it.
In a statement by the Operation’s Public Relations Officer, Flying Officer Audu Katty, the Force Commander said that the troops rescued one Mr Chimobi Omemma who was kidnapped on his way from Afia to Zaki-Biam, to buy spare parts for his business.
The statement, which was made available to newsmen, yesterday afternoon, added that, “The Force Commander, OPWS, Major General Kevin Aligbe, reiterates that OPWS remains resolute in ensuring peace and stability in the state, as this will encourage all meaningful Nigerians to go about their legitimate businesses and allow economic activities to thrive.”