By Evelyn Usman
A suspected member of a kidnap gang that had been terrorising road users in Plateau State has opened up on tricks used by the gang to abduct victims on the expressways in the northern parts of the country.
The suspect, Illyasu Saidu, revealed that members of his gang usually posed on the expressway as security agents on duty during operations.
At other times, Saidu, who is also an ex-convict, said his gang would attack victims and dispossess them of their phones and cash before dashing into the forest.
But he ran out of luck as operatives of the Force Intelligence Response Team smashed his 10-man syndicate recently.
In an interview with the suspect, he said: “I was once arrested by the Police for criminal conspiracy, armed robbery, cattle rustling and kidnapping.
“The case was charged to court and I was remanded in prison custody for three weeks before my parents and one lawyer came to perfect the bail condition for my release. I continued my activities with my gang members when I came out of prison. We are a 10-man gang.
“My gang usually operated in military uniform. We would stand on the road acting like security men. We would stop vehicles and take the passengers into the forest.
“We were responsible for the kidnapping of a woman in Mangar village. She spent three days in Bodel forest before her relatives paid N800,000 as a ransom for her release. Our informants live in the same vicinity as our targets and they also get their share of the ransom.
“My gang was also responsible for the kidnap of another woman from Tadai village in Manguna District of Bokkos Local Government Area and that of a man from the same community.
“In one of the kidnap operations, we invaded a house at Maiduna village in Daffo District to kidnap the owner. The man hid in the ceiling, from where he used a big stick on one of us. We all ran away out of fear because we thought there could be many of them waiting for us inside.
“In one of the robbery operations, we blocked the expressway between Bokos LGA and Daffi village. We collected two motorcycles and phones and sold them at giveaway prices. We also operated between Mangan and Bokkos road and Bokkos/Mangu road. We block the road to steal while waiting for relatives to pay the ransom, but if we get the ransom, we would not rob for that period.
“We also stole cows in villages. We sold them for N40,000 and N100,000 depending on the size. Some of the villagers are relocating their cows to safer places.”