Four suspected gang leaders previously wanted for “terrorising” communities in Rivers State have been apprehended following raids of their hideouts by the army, an official said.
The media coordinator for army operations, Aminu Iliyasu, who just left as the spokesperson for Army 6 Division in Port Harcourt, said this on Monday.
He said the operations leading to the arrests were carried out simultaneously and that all the targets were involved in kidnappings.
“Troops on Operation MESA raided the criminal hide-outs of some identified kidnap kingpins in Rivers State,” said Mr Iliyasu, a Colonel, in his statement. “The suspected kidnappers who have been terrorising innocent citizens met their waterloo when troops of 29 Battalion simultaneously raided their criminal hideouts in Obio/Akpor, Tai and Gokana LGAs of Rivers State on 2nd October 2019.”
He added: “The raid led to the arrest of 4 high profile criminals who have been on the Security Agencies’ wanted list. Those arrested include Dumbari Bro from B-Dere, Victor Dokara from K-Dere, Gbaraco Kaviloba from Lewe, and Confidence Friday from Bodo community.”
All the four communities where the suspects are reportedly from are parts of Ogoniland in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Residents in the oil-rich state commonly express fears about activities of cultists and gangs, most of them young persons. They sometimes engage in gun battles and kidnap people, including travellers for ransom.
Many of them also engage in violence during elections.
Meanwhile, the four kingpins arrested by the army would “soon” be handed over to the “appropriate security agency for prosecution” after military investigation, said Mr Iliyasu.
Photos of the suspects were shared by the army, but exhibits, which Nigerian security and military agencies usually publicise, were not included.
Meanwhile, in the North-east, Mr Iliysau said troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole helped three civilians with a lorry of goods escape kidnap planned by Boko Haram terrorists.
“In continuation of the Nigerian Army’s drive to clear marauding criminal insurgents and other unscrupulous elements from Operation LAFIYA DOLE and other theatres of operations nationwide, troops of 151 Battalion in conjunction with elements of 21 Special Armoured Brigade’s Quick Response Force (QRF) thwarted the kidnap of 3 civilians by the criminal insurgents,” said Mr Iliyasu.
He further said, “This rescue operation occurred at about 12:20 pm on 4 October 2019 when the said troops, while acting on information volunteered by some patriotic indigenes, blocked and engaged the criminal insurgents in a fierce fire fight at a crossing point around FIRGI village in BAMA LGA of Borno State, leading to the rescue of the civilians and a Canter truck loaded with grains.
“The criminal insurgents, who succumbed to the superior fire power of the troops, abandoned the hijacked truck and its occupants and fled in disarray into the forest.”