By Temitope Owotoki
The Police yesterday paraded 93 suspected kidnappers and armed robbers terrorising Niger, Katsina and Kaduna States, especially on the Kaduna-Abuja highway.
Items recovered from the suspects included 35 AK47 rifles, 21 Dane guns, 500 live ammunition and a rocket launcher.
DCP Frank Mba, Force Spokesman, while parading the suspects at Katari village on the Kaduna-Abuja highway, said the suspects were arrested in the last two weeks in joint operations in Kaduna, Niger and Katsina States.
Mba attributed the success to Operation Puff Adder launched to dislodge criminals from the Kaduna-Abuja expressway and the country at large.
Mba, who was with Aji Ali Janga, the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, during the briefing, said the joint operations comprised of policemen from Operations, Intelligence, Technical, Counter-Terrorism and Special Protection Units, among others, adding that the operation was designed to tackle kidnapping, robbery and banditry.
He maintained that the success recorded so far was huge.
“The suspects were arrested from Matari forest, Niger axis and some were pursued to as far as Katsina.
“We are determined to descend very hard on criminals. We recovered 37 AK 47 rifles, 12 locally made guns, a revolver pistol, 60,000 fake US dollars, military uniforms and a foreign made pistol.
“A few days ago, the IG rolled out a new counter kidnapping strategy. It will help us curtail crimes.” Mba said.
CP Janga on his part assured farmers at Birnin Gwari and other volatile areas that “it is now safe for them to return to their farms.”
He said the new operations being conducted in synergy with the commanders of various units had achieved success.
“Farmers who farm along Kaduna-Abuja expressway, Birnin Gwari and other volatile areas can go back to their farms. They are now safe,” Janga said.
Isah, one of the suspects arrested, said it was his first time of committing the crime and that he had not collected ransom before he was arrested.
While Salisu Abubakar, another suspect, who claimed to be a cleric, said he was aware that his clients belonged to criminal gangs, but that he only supported them with good luck charms.
“I have never participated in crimes,” he added.