President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday, said the last vestiges of terrorists were the ones soft-targeting innocent citizens, looting their assets and burning houses, because they were already frustrated as a result of the heat turned on them by the nation’s troop.
The president, who just got back from a three-day visit to Turkey, returned to the news of some 38 persons, reportedly killed in some communities in Kaduna State by bandits and stressed that killing of innocent citizens were no more acceptable.
Also, the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs in Kaduna State, Samuel Aruwan, who disclosed the latest killings in a statement, confirmed that no fewer than 38 people were killed in Giwa Local Government Area of the state.
However, in a counter effort, operatives of the Nigeria Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), working with the Taraba State Police Command, said they arrested eleven notorious kidnap suspects in Taraba over alleged complicity and various criminal roles in the recent spate of kidnap incidents, including the killing of a police sergeant in Jalingo, the state capital.
A statement by Force Headquarters, which also claimed that the suspects were responsible for the kidnapping of a serving personnel of the Nigeria Customs Service and a relative of the Emir of Jalingo, stated that the police recovered seven AK47 rifles, two baretta pistols, 121 rounds of live ammunition of different calibre, four magazines, masks, illicit drugs and other incriminating items during raids of various hideouts of the suspects in the state.
Buhari, while condemning the renewed killings in Kaduna State, said the gruesome nature of recent incidents in Kauran Fawa, Marke and Ruhiya of Idasu Ward of Giwa Local Government Area, has made him particularly sad and the killings unacceptable.
In a release by the president’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, Buhari expressed the nation’s condolences to the Government of Kaduna State, the people of Zonkwa Chiefdom and the family of His Highness Nuhu Bature, the Agwam Kajju on his demise.
In praying for the repose of the souls of the deceased, the president reiterated that the nation’s security forces had “turned the heat on the terrorists, who are getting frustrated and are soft-targeting innocent citizens, looting their assets, burning their homes and killing them indiscriminately.”
Buhari further reiterated his directive to the security and intelligence chiefs to do everything they could to destroy the remaining vestiges of the terrorists.
Aruwan, while speaking on the Kaduna killing, said the incident was reported to the state government by the military and police authorities, adding that, “security agencies have confirmed to the Kaduna State Government that 38 people were killed across the locations attacked.”
His statement identified some of the affected villages to include Kauran Fawa, Marke and Riheya villages in Idasu district, adding that houses, trucks, and cars were also burnt, along with food and farm produce.
Aruwan said Governor Nasir El-Rufai of the state received the news with sadness and had sent condolences to the families of the victims of the brutal attacks while praying for the repose of their souls.
“The governor also commiserated with the affected communities and directed the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency to conduct an urgent assessment of the area towards providing relief,” he said.
But, “in the meantime” he said, security agencies had sustained patrols in the general area.”
The commissioner said 29 of the victims had been identified, with nine yet to be identified atthe time of the security update.
According to him, the 29 identified victims included Rabi`u Wada, Salisu Boka, Nura Nuhu, Bashari Sabiu, Lawal Dahiru, Abbas Saidu, Inusa Kano, Lawal Nagargari, Malam Aminu, Lawal Maigyad and Mustapha Lawal Aliyu.
Others victims, according to Aruwan, include, Sale Makeri, Sani Lawal, Auwal Umar,Jamilu Hassan, Badamasi Mukhtar, Malam Jibril, Lawal Tsawa, Sule Hamisu, Sadi Bala, Kabiru Gesha, Abubakar Sanusi, Saiph Abdu, Haruna Musa, Lawal Hudu, Shuaibu Habibu, Yahaya Habibu and Abubakar Yusuf.
Meanwhile, on the Taraba situation, a statement by Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Frank Mba, a Commissioner of Police, said the arrest of the suspects followed the deployment of operatives of the Intelligence Response Team by the Inspector General of Police, Mr Usman Alkali Baba, to the state to complement efforts of the sState command in promptly containing the disturbing trend of kidnapping, armed robbery, and other violent crimes in the state.
The suspects, Luka Adam, Shuaibu Nuhu, Moses Amos, Peters Mashi, Ahmadu Mallam, Adamu Mohammed, Dahiru Mallam Dalha, Gambo Isah, Sanusi Ahmadu, Mallam Mohammed Mauludu, Ibrahim Idi, all indigenes of Taraba State, were arrested by the police team from their various criminal hideouts.
Police investigations revealed that the suspects, who were on the wanted list of the command, were members of a notorious kidnap syndicate and had been evidentially linked to the recent upsurge in incidents of kidnapping in the state, including deliberate and calculated attacks on security personnel.
Investigations also revealed how two of the suspects, Gambo Isah and Sanusi Ahmadu, masterminded the killing of the police sergeant and left a police inspector with gunshot injuries in their recent operation to enable them escape arrest, having abducted some victims in Jalingo recently.
Further investigations revealed that the modus operandi of the suspects included trailing individuals notably, business owners, government functionaries, motorists with flashy and exotic cars, among others, to their houses and thereafter planned and executed the kidnap of such persons.
“They also collect huge sums of money as ransom from relatives and friends of their victims before their release,” it said.
The police, in the course of investigations, identified and raided various criminal hideouts,where kidnap victims were usually kept. The police stated that while a cache of weapons and other incriminating items were recovered from their hideouts, all the kidnap victims held hostage at the various hideouts were carefully and successfully rescued unhurt and reunited with their families.
To that extent, investigators had intensified efforts at arresting other suspects currently at large.
The IG, while commending the people of Taraba for supporting the police especially, in providing useful information that aided the prompt apprehension of the suspects, assured that the police would continue to work with all stakeholders in deepening the collective safety of the Taraba people.
The IG condoled the family of the late Sergeant Ogidi Habu and maintained that the force would sustain efforts at improving public safety in all Nigerian communities, adding all the suspects would be charged to court on completion of investigations.
Deji Elumoye, Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja and John Shiklam in Kaduna