The Benue State Police Command says it has neutralised one kidnap suspect in Katsina-Ala LGA of the State.
The State Commissioner of Police, Okoro Julius Alawari disclosed this during his maiden media briefing on the arrests and rescue mission embarked by members of Operation Zenda at the Police headquarters, Makurdi on Monday.
Operatives of the command also rescued 10 kidnap victims from the hands of kidnappers in a community in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area (LGA) and an undisclosed number in a community in Guma LGA of the state.
While 10 of the victims, including Dr Etito Obadiah of the Federal Medical Center (FMC), Makurdi were rescued in Gaya community in Utange council ward of Katsina-Ala LGA, the others were rescued at Daudu, Guma LGA of the state.
Alawari said “On my arrival to Benue State Police Command as Commissioner of Police, I have taken time to interact with my predecessor and other stakeholders to be able to understand the current position of security in Benue State.
“In line with my findings, I have re-strategized and drawn a plan to rid Benue state of criminality. This is why I have invited you to join me in this fight. The Command has been able to carry out operations that yielded results.
“On 13/05/2023 at about 1900 hours, information was received that Dr. Etito Obadiah, a medical doctor with Federal Medical Center, Makurdi was kidnapped at Judges quarters and his kidnappers had started negotiation for ransom.
“During investigation, a team of Operation Zenda, JTF trailed the kidnappers to their hideout at Gaya village, Utange council ward of Katsina-Ala LGA of Benue state.
“On sighting the Police, the kidnappers engaged them (police) in a gun duel that claimed the life of one of the kidnappers; three suspects were arrested, while others escaped into a nearby bush with bullet wounds.
“Ten kidnap victims including the doctor were rescued unhurt.
“Items recovered from them include; one locally fabricated AK47 rifle with 10 rounds of 7.62mm live ammunition, two single barrel riffles, one locally made barrette pistol loaded with three rounds of .9mm live ammunition and two military uniforms. Investigation is ongoing.”
Also speaking on the second operation, the Police Commissioner said, “On 21/5/2023 at about 1200hrs, while Police teams were on patrol along Makurdi-Lafia road, information was received that some gun men had accosted a vehicle conveying passengers to Enugu at Daudu with intent to move the passengers to an unknown destination and request for ransom.
“The Police swiftly moved to the scene. On sighting the Police, suspects abandoned their victims and took to their heels. They also abandoned a bag containing military camouflage uniforms and wooden guns.
“Victims have since been released to continue with their journey while investigation is ongoing to arrest suspects at large”, he said.