*As Army kill 4 militia, arrest 9 in Bauchi, Benue
By Richard Abu and Chuks Oyema-Aziken
Operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Army have made significant progress in the fight against bandits and rampaging herdsmen in Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa, and Taraba states.
In a 10-day offensive in the affected states and other parts of the country, the security outfits arrested various criminals, including an arms supplier, Jonah Abbey, aka Jonah Idi, alongside his driver, Agyo Saviour, aka Dan-Wase.
On its part, the Army killed four members of a militia and arrested nine others in Bauchi State. The troops also arrested 12 Fulani herdsmen for destroying farm lands around Kwata Sule axis of Benue State.
The DSS, which gave details of its operations across the country, said that for 10 years, it had been on the trail of Abbey, which it described as a notorious gun runner.
In a statement issued on Sunday on behalf of the DSS National Headquarters, Tony Opuiyo, said that tactical operations to stem activities of criminal elements across the federation led to the arrest of key members of kidnapping, gunrunning and armed banditry syndicates operating across Plateau, Nasarawa, Taraba and Benue States.
Opuiyo said: a�?On 13th March, 2018, about 1220 hours, at Wukari town in Wukari Local Government Area, Taraba State, the DSS tactical team apprehended a notorious gunrunner, Jonah Abbey aka Jonah Idi alongside his driver, Agyo Saviour aka Dan-Wase.
a�?Abbey has been on the wanted list of the DSS for the last 10 years over arms and ammunition trade. He has been servicing criminal groups in Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Rivers, Imo, Anambra, Plateau, Nasarawa, and Benue/Taraba axis, including the notorious criminal syndicate led by Terwase Akawaza aka Ghana in Benue State.
a�?Recent intelligence indicated that Abbey moved arms and ammunition from Konduga in Borno State into Taraba State through his driver, Saviour. It may be noted that subject has entrenched his criminal activities in different parts of the country and as earlier mentioned, has clients especially in Plateau, Ebonyi, Cross River, Enugu and Bayelsa States, among othersa�?.
The DSS said Indications are that Abbey sourced arms from the Republic of Cameroon and parts of the North East zone.
Opuiyo said that a similar operation on 15th March, 2018, at about 0500 hours, at Chiwarna Hotel, Angwan Rogo by Bauchi Road, Jos North Local Government Area, led to the arrest of a high profile kidnap kingpin, Lawal Ibrahim (aka Alhaji Awalu).
He said Ibrahim was arrested alongside Ado Saleh and Bayero Adamu, allegedly responsible for the killing of a personnel of the DSS in the state, Daanan Balgnan, on 30th December, 2017.
He was also said to be involved in other high profile kidnap incidents in Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Bauchi States.
According to the DSS, the sum of N1.5million was recovered from the suspects, adding that the money was part of the sum of the N2million ransom, which the syndicate had collected from Ayuba Gamale, an official of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), whose two abducted family members were released on March 14, 2018.
Opuiyo said the arrest of the suspects were significant for two different but related reasons.
He said: a�?In the first case, the arrested kidnap kingpin, Ibrahim, is adjudged the most dangerous in Plateau State, as he is known to be principally responsible for recent kidnap incidents in the State.
a�?In the case of Jonah Idi, his arrest would greatly degrade and disrupt the booming illicit arms supply business, which till now has sustained the crisis in Taraba, Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa Statesa�?.
The secret agency further said that a�?on 7th March, 2018 about 0023 hours, around the International Market in Makurdi, Benue State, its operatives arrested a top commander of the Terwase Akwaza (aka Ghana) led criminal gang identified as Sesugh Aondoseer.
a�?The suspect is believed to have masterminded several kidnap and robbery operations in Katsina Ala-Ukum and Gboko-Makurdi axis of Benue State as well as Takum in Taraba Statea�?.
In the South East zone, the DSS said that on 16th March, 2018, about 0630 hours, at Ifite Village, Awka, Anambra State, its operatives arrested two suspected kidnappers: Nnaemeka Udoukwu and Nkem Nnonyelu, who have been on their wanted list for their alleged involvement in series of kidnap incidents in the state.
Udoukwu was allegedly involved in the abduction of one Margret Orji, mother of an Onitsha-based businessman, Michael Orji, in January, 2017. They reportedly collected a ransom of N2 million to release the victim. The suspects are under custody, for further investigation, the DSS said.
*Army kills 4 militias, arrests 12 herders in Bauchi, Benue
Also yesterday, the Army said that it had arrested 12 herdsmen for destroying farmlands in Mbayer/Ynadeve and Kaambee wards of Benue State on Saturday.
In a statement, the Army said that troops of 707 Special Forces Brigade taking part in the Ayem Akpatuma, arrested the suspects during the visit of the Presidential Assessment Team to Mbayer/Ynadeve and Kaambee.
The Army said: “On search of the General Area, two motorcycles were recovered from the suspects. The 12 herdsmen were handed over to the Police for further action.
In Bauchi State, troops of 33 Artillery Brigade, in the on-going Operation Laifya Dole have killed four members of a militia group and arrested 9 others.
In statement signed by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu, the troops encountered members of the militia group massing up at Burra Junction in Ningi Local Government Area of Bauchi State.
He said: “The militiamen on sighting our troops opened fire on them. Troops reacted immediately by engaging the militiamen. At the end of the encounter, four militiamen were killed. Troops recovered five Dane guns, 38 motorcycles and nine bicycles.
a�?Nine militiamen were also arrested while a soldier, who sustained gunshot wounds, is stable, having being evacuated to the hospital and receiving treatmenta�?.
*As Army kill 4 militia, arrest 9 in Bauchi, Benue