As part of its cardinal objectives of crime reduction by its current management, the Police, on Monday in Abuja, paraded a criminal gang that allegedly engaged in serial kidnap and the recovery of firearms, ammunition, military and police uniforms, as well as two operational vehicles.
A statement by Don Awunah, Police Public Relations Officer, said the seven-man gang led by Dominic Nwakpa aka Alhaji, was arrested by the Intelligence Response Team and other Special Tactical Squads reorganized, refocused and equipped by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris on January 1, 2017 at 11.30am.
Their arrest, the statement added, followed a sustained surveillance, during which the “vicious and very notorious kidnap for ransom gang that have been terrorizing Kaduna and neighbouring States, responsible for the kidnap of several important personalities in the recent past” was smashed.
“The suspects upon interrogation volunteered confessional statements admitting that they are the criminal gang that kidnapped the former Minister of State for foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bagudu Hirse on 20th November, 2016 in GRA, Kaduna and collected ransom before he was released.
“The same gang confessed to the kidnap of Dr. Abdulmalik Durunguwa and his wife in their residence at different intervals in Kaduna. Ransom was also collected by the gang from the family of the victims before they were released.
The gang is said to have also claimed responsibility for the abduction of Ibrahim Samaila, a member of Kaduna State House of Assembly on August 26, 2016 at Abakpa area of Kaduna State, who was released after payment of an undisclosed ransom money.
Nwakpa, Awunnah explained was arrested in Lagos, “while four other principal suspects and members of the gang, namely Balat Paul (30 year-old male) driver of the gang, Ibrahim Samuel aka “IB,” (27 years old) and Jatau Peter (29) – a dismissed Policeman were arrested on the 1st January, 2017 in their hideouts at Dan Hassan Road Ungwa Boro Kaduna.”
Continuing, he said “Afini Paul (younger sister to Balat), a female member who cooks for the gang and the victims, rented the house at Yusuf Patrick close, Mararaba Rido, Kaduna where victims are kept before ransom money is collected, was arrested at their hideout in Kaduna.
“Ifeanyi Chukwu the second in command of the gang was arrested in a hotel in Agbor Hill, area of Abia State. He confessed to be the second in command of the gang that kidnapped the Ambassador and so many other kidnappings within and outside Kaduna, Abia, Imo, Rivers, and Delta States.
Another member of the gang also arrested by the Police is Clinton Abere, a principal suspect, was nabbed on January 6, 2017, in a Lagos hotel “after jumping out of the window of his hotel room on sighting the operatives of the IGP Intelligence Response team (IRT).
“He is currently receiving treatment at Police Hospital from injury he sustained in the process of attempting to escape arrest.”
Items recovered from the gang included two English-made Pump Action Guns, 131 rounds of AK 47 ammunition, Police camouflage uniform and two military face caps, two operational vehicles, one hand-held phone – used for negotiation and collection of ransom, a red face mask, anti-car tracking device and one black criminal charm jacket.
Awunnah noted that the well-coordinated operation based on intelligence gathered and painstaking surveillance of notorious kidnap for ransom criminal gangs in Kaduna and other contiguous States, the IRT, led to the arrest of the criminal gang in a single swoop and the arrest of all the members, who are now in Police custody and undergoing investigation to ensure they are brought to justice.