Troops of the military taskforce, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), maintaining peace in Plateau State and parts of Bauchi and Kaduna States, arrested 39 suspects for banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery in one week.
Capt. James Oya, its Media Officer stated on Tuesday in Jos that the suspects were arrested between Aug. 14 and Aug. 21.
He added that the troops also recovered arms and ammunition, and illicit drugs from the suspects.
“The suspects were arrested at different locations within the Joint Operation Area of OPSH and 3 Division of the Nigerian Army’s area of responsibility. Two of the suspects had been on our wanted list for their involvement in several armed robberies and kidnaping.
“We recovered one AK-47 rifle, one pump-action Magnum gun, one AK-47 magazine, 14 rounds of 7.62mm `special’ and a mobile phone from the suspects. Among the suspects is a kidnapper and arms dealer, who was captured at Kuba village in Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau,’’ he stated.
Oya stated also that two members of the militia gang that attacked and killed 21 persons at Heipang, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau on Aug. 10 were among the suspects arrested.
He added that two AK-47 rifles, seven fabricated rifles and four pump action cartridges were recovered from the two suspects.
“Members of a drug syndicate operating in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau were also nabbed during a sting operation and seven peddlers were arrested with a large cache of drugs. Troops also impounded 307 cows for grazing on farmlands belonging to locals at Kubat and Mabel communities of Mangu and Bokkos local government areas, respectively. In the period under review, we responded to 37 distress calls and rescued 17 kidnap victims.
“We also foiled many cattle rustling attempts and repelled attacks on vulnerable communities, especially in Mangu, Barkin Ladi and Riyom, all in Plateau,’’ Oya stated.
He reconfirmed OPSH’s commitment to ensure that sustainable peace returned to all parts of Plateau.
Oya assured that officers and men of the operation would continue to be swift in responding to threats to lives and property.