…As CP says Banditry down by over 90% in Zamfara***
Not fewer than 13 kidnapped victims have been rescued in the Lili forest in Ohaji/Egbema council area of Imo, by crack teams of the Nigeria Police.
The Force Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DCP Frank Mba who confirmed this also noted that three of the alleged kidnap suspects were felled by police, after an eight-hour gun battle with the police, adding that four assault rifles were recovered from the suspects.
The force PPRO, who disclosed this in Owerri on Monday, also paraded 19 suspects allegedly involved in various crimes ranging from kidnapping, armed robbery, murder and child-trafficking.
He said two other suspects had been arrested on the issue of alleged kidnapping after a follow up investigation.
Among the paraded suspects was Chukwuemeka Eze who, according to Mba, allegedly murdered a 27-year-old female, Lillian Ngbawa, who just concluded her NYSC programme in Mgbidi, Oru West council area.
Also read: 40 kidnap victims regain freedom in Zamfara
He said Eze allegedly murdered his victim after raping her and dumped her in a forest where she was recovered.
According to the PPRO, Eze took his victim’s smart phone after killing her which he said eventually implicated him.
Mba said the huge breakthrough was possible following the recent “Operation Puff Adder” recently launched by the Inspector-General of Police.
Giving breakdown of the criminals, Mba disclosed that four suspects out of the 19 paraded, were involved in armed robbery, while 12 were involved in kidnapping.
He said one suspect was being held for murder while another one was being held for unlawful procession of firearms and child-trafficking.
Meanwhile, the Zamfara State Commissioner of Police, Mr Usman Nagogo, highlighted on Monday, that armed bandits’ activities in the State have reduced by about 98 per cent, following ongoing Peace and Reconciliation Initiative.
The CP stated this at a press briefing in on the successes being recorded by the security in the fight against banditry in the state.
The state governor, Alhaji Bello Matawalle had recently in collaboration with the police set up the Peace and Reconciliation Initiative under the leadership of the Commissioner of Police to peacefully negotiate complete ceasefire by the bandits.
The CP said, the command had organised separate meetings with Fulanis, Hausas, members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) and various bandit groups before bringing them all together at an enlarged meeting chaired by the state governor.
“At the final and enlarged meeting, accusations and counter accusations were made, but the beauty of it all is that, at the end we all reached an understanding which led to the release of over 50 kidnap persons from both the bandits and the volunteers, known as ‘Yansakai.
“We plan to start disarmament of illegal weapons from the repentant bandits and Yansakai since the peace accord has now opened a new page.
“One can see Fulanis going to markets freely which confirms that peace has been achieved unlike before, when the warring sides killed or maimed anyone from the opposite side of the divide,” the CP stated.
Nagogo who commended the participation of all stakeholders including security agencies in the peace pact, urged for the sustainability of the initiative.