Frank Mba, spokesman of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), says 32 suspects have been arrested for their alleged involvement in various crimes including kidnapping, arms smuggling, and car theft.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Mba said officers of the special tactical squad arrested the suspects from different locations in the north-central, north-western, north-eastern and other parts of the country.
According to him, some of the suspects who were involved in a recent attack on a mosque in Niger state are escaped inmates from the Lokoja correctional centre in Kogi.
There was a jailbreak at the correctional facility in Kogi in September, with over hundreds of the inmates said to have escaped.
The police spokesman said other suspects arrested include those who recently attacked travellers on the Abuja-Kaduna highway, adding that the abducted persons have been rescued unhurt.
“Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force Special Tactical Squad have arrested a total of thirty-two (32) notorious suspects for their complicity in the crimes of kidnapping, armed robbery, arms smuggling, illegal possession of weapons, trading in illicit drugs, trans-border car theft, rape, amongst others,” the statement reads.
“The Police team equally recovered Nineteen (19) AK47 rifles, one (1) GPMG, three (3) revolver rifles, two (2) G-3 rifles, one (1) SMG, one (1) berretta pistol, four hundred and fifty-three (453) rounds of live ammunition of different calibre, twelve (12) magazines and seventeen (17) stolen cars from the criminals during the follow-up investigations.
“Notable amongst the cases is the arrest of six (6) notorious criminals involved in car theft in different parts of the country particularly Nasarawa, Port-Harcourt, FCT, Kebbi and Zamfara. These suspects smuggle the stolen cars through our international borders and deliver the same to a major criminal receiver called Alhaji Garuba (still at large) in Niger Republic.
“Investigations revealed that the modus operandi of the suspects include snatching the cars at gunpoint and sometimes removing the cars from where they were parked especially crowded car parks like the cinema, church and mosque.
“These cars are sold in neighbouring countries at give-away prices and sometimes delivered to Alhaji Garuba in exchange for illicit weapons. The INTERPOL unit of the Nigeria Police is already working with their counterparts in Niger Republic to arrest the fleeing suspects in order to bring them to book.
“Second is the arrest of one 27-yr-old Dayyabu Mohammed of Soba LGA of Kaduna State for illegal possession of five (5) AK47 rifles and 250 rounds of AK47 ammunition. The suspect was arrested during a crackdown on bandits at Saminaka Forest in Kaduna State by operatives of STS. Investigation shows that Dayyabu Mohammed is an arms supplier to two (2) identified and wanted bandits in the North West and North Central parts of the country.
“The two bandit kingpins are Yellow and Budderi. Dayyabu Mohammed was intercepted while ferrying the weapons from Jos, Plateau State in a Golf-3 saloon car to the Bandit in their hideouts located in a forest at Birnin-Gwari, Kaduna State. Investigations by the Police team revealed that the Golf-3 saloon car was given to Dayyabu as his operational vehicle by one of the wanted bandits, with a promise that the full ownership of the vehicle will revert to him on completion of five successful arms delivery missions.
“Also, is the arrest of the perpetrators of a recent deadly attack on travellers in the Tafa axis of the Kaduna – Abuja highway where two (2) women and their husbands were abducted by the criminals into the forest. The operatives of the Special Tactical Squad deployed to that area were quickly mobilised and went after the suspects to rescue the victims.
“The Police operatives eventually identified the hideout of the criminals, launched a rescue mission and successfully rescued the hostages, including the women, unhurt.
“The operatives equally apprehended a gang of six; Mohammed lawali, Suleiman Ibrahim, Mohammed Rebo, Bashir Audu, Monsoru Abubakar and Abubakar Hamidu, in connection with the attack on a mosque in Mazakuka area in Mashegu LGA in Niger State where eighteen (18) people were reportedly killed and more than thirty (30) abducted.
“Investigations by the Police team revealed that the gang leader, Mohammed lawali and some of the gang members are escapees from the Lokoja correctional centre. Bashir Audu was arrested for his criminal role of supplying hard drugs to the gang. Two (2) AK47 rifles, three (3) fully-loaded magazines and various parcels of hard drugs were recovered from them.”
While calling on members of the public who are victims of car theft to visit the special tactical squad in Abuja to claim ownership of the vehicles, Mba said the suspects will be charged to court when investigations are concluded.
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