The police in Abuja yesterday paraded eight suspected robbers and kidnappers, said to be allegedly responsible for the death of a former Commissioner in Katsina State, Prof. Halimatu Idris. They said 35 bandits had been arrested in Zamfara State, adding that six AK47 rifles, 15 locally-made guns, 183 AK47 live ammunition and seven cartridges were recovered from them.
The suspected highway kidnappers were alleged to have been responsible for the attack on the Director, National Agricultural Research Extensions and Liaison Services, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Prof. Mohammed Othman, and abduction of a mum and her seven-month baby.
The police said six of their victims were rescued and the suspects were caught after a gun battle with special forces.
The suspects, Lawal Tukur, 40; Sulaiman Sani, 27; Abubakar Ahmad, 30; Abubakar Adamu, 33; Yahaya Musa, 33; Kabiru Bala, 23; Rufai Tukur, 26 and Shehu Audi, 32, had unleashed terror on road users on Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Highway before their arrest by operatives of Operation Absolute Sanity.
Sani and Adamu confessed to have killed four persons, the police said, adding that Bala kidnapped Rahinatu Shehu, 51, a mother, Aisha Sani, 23, with her seven-month-old baby at their Mararaba Guga town, Giwa Local Government home.
Police spokesman Jimoh Moshood said two AK47 rifles, three pairs of fake military uniforms, cutlasses, motorcycle as well as Shedda cloth and other items belonging to their victims were recovered from the suspects.
He said their arrest followed an order by Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris (IG) that those responsible for the July 22 murder of the former commissioner and other heinous crimes in the axis should be arrested.
“Investigation is in progress and effort is being intensified to nab other suspects. They will be arraigned after investigation,” said Moshood.
He said operatives and equipment had been deployed in the axis to ensure safety, adding that the IG has directed the return to Kaduna State, the Police Mobile Force (PMF) squadrons in MOPOL 1, 47 and 61, who were on special duties outside.
The spokesman said: “PMF units of the Squadrons in MOPOL 1 Kaduna, MOPOL 47 Zaria and MOPOL 61 Kafanchan on special duties outside the state have been ordered by the IG to return to Kaduna State to tighten security, particularly on Kaduna-Abuja highway, Kaduna-Zaria-Kano, Kaduna-BirninGwari-Zamfara-Funtua-Zamfara highway and other flash points.”
On the situation in Zamfara, he said peace had been restored, adding that more policemen were deployed following the attack on Kodi village in Zurmi Local Government on July 24, during which four people were killed.
Moshood said: “The Force is embarking on police crime prevention, visibility and confidence building patrols. The people in the affected villages have started returning to their homes.
“Thirty-five bandits have been arrested in connection with the recent attacks in villages in Zamfara State. Six AK47 rifles, 15 locally-fabricated guns, 183 AK47 ammunition and seven live cartridges were recovered from the bandits.
“The suspects have made useful statements to the police and confessed to the killings.”