….recovers caches of arms

By Peter Duru, Makurdi

10 suspects have been arrested for alleged armed banditry and kidnappings in Benue and Nasarawa States, by troops of the joint military operation code named Operation Whirl Stroke, OPWS.

Parading the suspects on Saturday at the OPWS headquarters in Makurdi, the Force Commander Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini explained that five of the suspects were arrested in Toto and Awe Local Government Areas, LGAs, of Nasarawa State while five others were arrested in Guma and Ukum LGAs of Benue State.

He said “One of the suspects was shot dead during exchange of fire with our troops at Zaki-Biam in Ukum LGA and an AK-47 riffle was recovered from him. Three out of the four suspects arrested in Zaki Biam are linked to wanted militia leader, Terwase Akwaza alias ‘Gana’.

“Another suspect was also arrested at Tomata, Guma LGA with a deadly locally made rifle fabricated for 5.56mm ammunition, standard ammunition for assault rifles.”

Gen. Yekini further explained that one of the suspects who was arrested in Awe LGA was alleged to be linked to a pending kidnap case “he was handed over to the Nasarawa State Police command.”

He said items recovered from the suspects includes two locally fabricated pistols, a self loading riffle, SLR, five locally made rifles, one AK-47 riffle, some quantities of ammunition and three phones with a Toyota Corolla car popularly known as ‘duck nyash’ usually used for kidnap operations.

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One of the suspects who spoke with newsmen confessed that he served as an informant to a kidnap syndicate who paid for his services.

He said, “he is a Fulani man, the last time I gave him information a victim was kidnapped in Gwagwalada after which I got N30,000 but Fulani man told me that the victim was later released after a ransom of N320,000 was paid.”

Another suspect, Dominic Angyer who was arrested with a locally made pistol in Guma LGA said “somebody who was owing me actually gave me the pistol with N2000 about two years ago with a promise that he would come back and collect it after paying me the balance but he has not come till now.

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