By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
The Nigerian Army, in conjunction with the Police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, among others have neutralised a notorious kingpin of a kidnapping gang in Akwa Ibom State, Otobong Moses, alias Otoabasi.
The troops during the raid of the kidnappers hideout in Obon Ebot Etim Ekpo Local Government Area of the State on Wednesday, arrested three members of the kidnap syndicate and rescued two kidnapped victims.
The Assistant Director Army Public Relations, 2 Brigade Nigerian Army, Capt. Samuel Akari, disclosed this newsmen listed items recovered during the operation to include; one Sub Machine Gun and magazine, 67 rounds of 9MM ammunition, two motorcycles, 16 mobile phones, one AK 47 rifle magazine with 30 rounds of 7.62MM Special ammunition and nine machetes.
Others are; two military monkey jackets, one helmet strapped with military camouflage uniform, 2 pairs of military camouflage uniform, one military police beret, one police camouflage face cap, one military pull over, ATM card, two TV sets, a standing fan, decoder and four generator sets.
Akari said: “In line with operational directives of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and the Akwa Ibom State Government, troops of 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army in conjunction with the Nigerian Police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps as well as other security agencies raided a well known kidnappers hideout.
“The raid operation was as a result of a sustained surveillance on the activities of the notorious kingpin and his syndicate. The first phase of the operations was conducted on May 12, during the operations, troops raided the criminals hideout, but on sighting the troops the criminals abandoned their hideout and fled.
“The gallant troops rescued the kidnapped victims and arrested two collaborators of the criminal kingpin while the shrine, hideout and assorted charms were set ablaze by the troops.
“Further investigation revealed that the criminal gang is known for terrorising the locals, kidnapping, killing and burying their victims, who do not do their biddings in shallow graves in the general area,”
He appealed to residents of the community to return to their homes and continue their businesses as the security agencies would be on surveillance to ensure peace in the community.
“The good people of Etim Ekpo, Ukanafun LGAs and indeed the entire Akwa Ibom State are enjoined to go about their lawful businesses. However, those who are bent on disturbing the peace enjoyed in the state are advised to desist or prepare to face the wrath of the law,” Akari said.