By Boluwaji Obahopo
LOKOJA—A military officer and three suspected kidnappers were, yesterday, killed in a gun battle during efforts by the military to rescue a kidnap victim.
The operation, carried out by the Nigeria Military Exercise Cat Race, occurred yesterday morning along Okene-Ajaokuta checkpoint, when the military men accompanied the victim’s family to deposit the demanded ransom to the kidnappers.
Vanguard gathered that when the suspected kidnappers saw the man and the military men, they opened fire but were repelled by the soldiers; which led to the death of three of the suspected kidnappers, while the military official was fatally injured.
Vanguard further gathered from a military source that one of the suspected kidnappers was also captured.
The source also disclosed that the late young officer, who got married few months ago, later died in the hospital.
The kidnap victim, an oil mogul, who is the Chief Executive, Always Petroleum and Gas, Alhaji Otinau Jimoh, was also shot on his arms before he could be rescued and is receiving treatment in a private hospital in Okene.
The oil mogul was kidnapped 10 days ago by gunmen at his country home in Okene, headquarters of Okene Local Government Area of Kogi State.
Items recovered from the kidnappers’ hideout include charms, guns and ammunition.
Exercise Cat Race was launched in Benue State last week by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, as a measure to check security situation in six states of the North Central.
Public Relations Officer of the Kogi Army Record, Captain Weri Finikumor, said the operation was ongoing, but refused to confirm the story. He, however, said he will only comment at the end of the exercise.