By Evelyn Usman
Operatives of the Force Investigation Bureau-Intelligence Response Team, FIB-IRT have arrested two suspected members of a kidnap gang that attacked the Staff Quarters of the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Centre, Zaria, Kaduna State, three months ago.
The gunmen announced their presence at about 12.30 am, with sporadic gunshots and abducted seven persons: five staff of the centre and two nursing mothers. they were however released after payment of an undisclosed ransom.
Preliminary investigation by the Team headed by DCP Tunji Disu, showed that the gang had been responsible for some attacks and kidnappings in Zaria, Kaduna.
One of the attacks was on a residential apartment at Zangu, behind Ahmadu Bello University, ABU during which a pregnant Pharmacist at the ABU, Hannatu Rufai, was kidnapped, two months ago.
She was shot dead on the way because she could not keep up with the pace of other abducted persons, while being led to the kidnappers’ den, inside the forest.
Another operation carried out by the gang according to the Police, was the attack and subsequent kidnap of one Professor Alliu Mohammed, of the Department of Agriculture, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, in January, 2021.
In that operation, the gang shot Mohammed’s son dead before abducting him. He was released 25 days after his abduction, with a N10 million ransom reportedly paid.
Also, a member of a vigilante group, one Japenti, in Wusafa area of the state.
Japenti was killed in the forest and buried in a shallow grave by the gang, after he was kidnapped.
Wife of the owner of Najiwa petrol station and his child were among the gang’s victims. They were released after a ransom of N18 million was paid.
One of the suspects, Umar, 21, from Tamkarau village, Zaria, Kaduna state, was the first arrested.
He gave a startling confession about his gang’s operations. He further revealed that the attack on the home of a Commissioner in Kaduna state whose three grandchildren were kidnapped was also perpetrated by his gang.
His confessional statement led to the arrest of one Idris Mustapha, whom he said gave information about the Commissioner to the gang.
Adamu, popularly known as mai Anguwa, opens up on the gang’s activities and the role he played.
He said, “ I was a cattle rearer before I joined the gang last year. Isah is the gang leader. He is also a cattle rearer.
“Isah brings guns to us. After any operation, he would give me and others N2000 and tell us to go, that he would call us when they collect ransom.
“When ransom is paid, Isah would contact us on the phone to come to the forest to collect our share.
“I don’t stay in the camp with the gang. I only went on kidnap operations with them.
“I refused to go to the forest because my father forbids me from going. He said he wanted to marry a wife for me.
“Whenever there was an operation, those in the bush would come out at night with guns. They would park their motorcycles at a distance and walk into the village. They usually came around 9 pm, 10.30 pm or 11 pm, depending on the terrain.
“I don’t handle guns, my job is to lead them out of the community because I know the terrain well.
“I would lead them to where they parked their motorcycles, from where they would put victims on them and drive into the forest. I have participated in many kidnaps with them.
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“Isah led all the operations. He was the one that shot the pregnant woman to death. He said she was being stubborn by not walking fast.
“I did not go with them in the operation at the Commissioner’s apartment, where his grandchildren were kidnapped. But I participated in others. Nuhu Aminu, a member of the gang, was the person that shot the professor’s son to death when they went to kidnap the professor”.
The second suspect is Idris Mustapha, who lives in the same community as the Commissioner for Finance.
He admitted to have given Isah, the gang leader, information that led to the kidnap of the Commissioner’s grandchildren.
Thirty-six-year-old Mustapha, who is into cattle rearing, said, “I met Isah Danwasa through a friend called Dambaba. Dambaba gave my number to Isah, the gang leader . He (Isah) called me one day to introduce himself.
“He said he wanted me to buy medicine for his cows and bring them to him in the bush because he does not come to town in the daytime
“He sent N20,000 first, through one Bagobili, that I should buy the cow medicine and bring it to the camp.
“But I refused and returned the money through Bagobili. Isah called me on the phone, threatening to come that night and pack all our cows and also kill me.
“I accepted out of fear, to buy him medicine for his cows. Bagobiri returned the money to me.
“I bought the medicine, gave it to Bagobili to take to Isah, in the forest. He sent money on two other occasions through Bagobili. The third time, he insisted I must bring the medicine to the camp myself.
“When I got there, I saw members of his gang, all armed with AK 47 rifles.
“Isah told me to look out for rich men and those who have cows in Zaria town and bring their information to him. He threatened to kill me and steal our cows if I refused to work for him.
“That was why I told him about the Commissioner. We were communicating through the phone. He sent one Idi and another member of the gang to come locate the Commissioner’s house.
“They came in a motorbike to survey the terrain and left. After some days, the gang members stormed the house at night but the Commissioner was not at home. He was in Kaduna. They kidnapped his grandchildren.
“After the kidnap, I refused to go to the house to greet the father of the children who is my friend. This was because there were security agents there
“I didn’t know how much was paid as ransom. But I was given N10,000 for the role I played. I regret my action”.
Force Public Relations Officer, CP Frank Mba who confirmed the arrest, said the Police was still on the trail of Isah, leader of the gang. He added that the suspects would be charged to court.