Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have smashed kidnapping syndicate responsible for some of the high-profile kidnap for ransom operations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Kaduna, Niger, Katsina, Bauchi, and Plateau states, including the attempted kidnapping of a Catholic Bishop in Zaria.
Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), CP Frank Mba, disclosed this while parading four members of the gang alongside 80 others arrested for various crimes before journalists, Wednesday in Abuja.
He named the gang members as: Umar Abdullahi, 40, from Kali Kura Village, Giwa LGA, Kaduna state; Yusuf Tanimu, 23, from Kurena, Zaria, Kaduna state; Mamuda Suleiman, 40, from Barkin Ladi, Plateau state; and Abubakar Yaro, 38, from Wase Village, Plateau state.
According to the Spokesperson, “Investigations revealed that the gang are linked to series of kidnap for ransom crimes including the kidnapping of some senior staff of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria; family members of notable political appointees and business entrepreneurs in Kaduna state and other contiguous states. “Investigations further revealed that the suspects were at an advanced stage of operationalising their plans to kidnap a Catholic Bishop in Zaria, when they were apprehended.
“Investigations also revealed that the gang, in addition to their kidnapping enterprise, supply arms and ammunition to Bandits at Birnin Gwarri, kaduna state, Niger, Katsina and Zamfara states.”
He said one General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG); two AK47 rifles, and 6,509 live ammunition were recovered from the syndicate during the operation.
The FPRO further stated that, “A total of 84 notorious criminal suspects were arrested within the past one month. A total of 45 sophisticated firearms and ammunition including one GPMG, one LAR rifle, 17-AK47 rifles, two Pump Action rifles, 20 locally fabricated firearms, three single barrel guns, 9,899 live ammunition of different calibres, 80-fake vehicle number plates, one Toyota Camry with Reg. No. AA 792 HJA and one Toyota Corolla LE with Reg. No. QAP 622 AA, were recovered from the suspects in the operations.
“The suspects were arrested for their involvement in series of violent crimes including terrorism, banditry, kidnap for ransom, possession and proliferation of illegal weapons, armed robbery, unlawful production of vehicle number plates among others.”
Mba explained that, “While many of the suspects were arrested in follow-up on cases of violent crimes under investigations, others were arrested after being subdued following gun duel with the police who took the battle to the doorsteps of the criminals.”
He said the Police team also arrested “a seven-man criminal syndicate that specialises in the manufacturing and supplies of locally fabricated AK-47 rifles and ammunition to bandits in forests along the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway and Funtua-Kankara Expressway in Katisina state.
“The suspects are: Dung Michael, 26; Dung James, 29; Bulus Iliya, 25; Markus Danladi, 25; Danjuma Dachu, 25; all from Jos South and Samaila Abdullahi, 45, from Toro in Bauchi state; Maek Danladi, 30, from Chukum, Kaduna state.”
Speaking further he said: “In a similar vein, one Abubakar Mohammed a.k.a Mallam Buzu from Mali, who is a transnational gun-runner, was arrested by the Police team in Tsamiya, a border town between Benin Republic and Nigeria.
“He was arrested with a GPMG ammunition chain drive with holding capacity of 1,600 rounds of ammunition.”
The Spokesperson said: “Three suspects responsible for production of fake vehicle number plates including replica of number plates of government, diplomatic and security agencies were also arrested.
“Investigations revealed that the suspects supply the number plates to criminal elements who use same to beat security checks during their operations. A total of 80 fake number plates were recovered from the gang.”
He said the acting Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Baba, while affirming that the kinetic and non-kinetic approaches targeted at re-ordering security in the country were already yielding positive results, reassured of the renewed commitment of the Force to the fight against crimes and criminality.
The Police boss called for sustained support for the Police and the security community as efforts are intensified to enhance public safety, peace and security.
The FPRO said all the suspects would be charged to court on completion of investigations.