By Augustine Ehikioya
As part of efforts to check security challenges in the country, operatives of the Nigeria Police Special Tactical Squad have arrested a 9-man syndicate of high-profile kidnappers that specializes in the abduction of travelers on major highways in the North-Western region of the country.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Force Public Relations Officer, CP Frank Mba, and obtained by Security Watch Africa (SWA).
The statement listed the suspects to include: Bashir Sule, 25-years-old; Abubakar Haruna, 30-years-old; Babangida Bature, 25-years-old; Aliyu Idris, 24-years-old; Adam Jafar, 26-years-old; Usman Idris, 24-years-old; Yusuf Idris, 45-years-old; Sale Musa, 25-years-old and Umar Sale, 22-years-old.
They “were arrested following investigations by the Police team which uncovered plans by the syndicate to carry out a major abduction of travelers along the Kano-Katsina expressway.”
Police investigations revealed that the modus operandi of the syndicate involved “the principal suspect, Bashir Sule taking a commuter bus to a motor-park, acting as a driver, to convey passengers. Bashir, while driving to the expected destination, stops at an agreed meeting point where his other gang members swoop in, attack, rob and abduct the passengers.
“The criminals thereafter contact the families of the victims for ransom before their release. Investigations further revealed that the principal suspect, Bashir, sometimes joins commuter buses as a passenger and in the course of the journey provides information to his other gang members who then lie in wait for the innocent co-travellers. Bashir in both instances, acts as a victim who barely escaped the attack” the statement said.
The statement also revealed that the Police team arrested an 11-man notorious gang for their involvement in series of violent crimes including kidnapping, armed robbery, illegal possession and illicit sale of prohibited firearms.
“The gang which has two female members – Hafsat Adamu, 24-years old and Aisha Ibrahim, 30-years-old – rely on these women to transport their weapons from one point to another, taking advantage of the innocuous look and sentiments associated with their gender.”
In the same vein, the Police, the statement said also arrested a trans-national car theft syndicate that specializes in stealing cars from Nigeria and smuggling same to Niger Republic and other neighbouring countries.
“A total of fifteen (15) cars were recovered from the suspects. Also recovered were two (2) jamming devices which aid the suspects in moving the stolen vehicles undetected.”
The statement said that the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, while reiterating the commitment of the Force to the protection of lives and property in the country, called on motor park operators to ensure adequate screening of their drivers and vehicle owners before permitting them to operate in their motor parks.
The IGP noted that “thirty-four (34) suspects including 32-male and 2-female were arrested. Eleven (11) high-calibre grenades, eleven (11) sophisticated firearms, fifteen (15) stolen cars, two (2) vehicle jammers, three hundred and eighty-nine (389) AK-47 ammunition, amongst others, were recovered from the suspects.”
All the suspects, the statement said, will be charged to court on conclusion of investigations.