The Department of State Services (DSS), yesterday, said it has recorded major successes in its determined efforts against identified criminal gangs, kidnap syndicates and terrorist elements across the country.
The DSS, in a statement signed by Tony Opuiyo, said two Boko Haram terrorsts, Bale Kolomi Grema and Kolomi Adba-Aji were arrested in a mosque on January 1 at Mutum Biyu in Gassol Local Government Area in Taraba State, after they had fled Marte in Borno State.
The statement also said on the same January 1, one Amadu Bello was apprehended at Hotoron Arewa in Nasarawa Local Government Area of Kano State for his alleged involvement in a “kidnap operation at Zomo village in Ningi Local Government Area of Bauchi State, from which he got a share of N3 million from the ransom.”
“In a related development, on January 6, one Paul Ali (aka Simplee), a high profile leader of a kidnap syndicate was arrested at Hill Flower Hotel, Asaga Ohafia, Abia State. Ali, who operates camps at Ikot Abasi and Mbo LGAs of Akwa Ibom State, is responsible for notable kidnap incidents across the Niger Delta. He is also a member of the Bakassi Strike Force (BSF) which has carried out attacks on oil installations in the area,” the statement said.
The DSS said, “at the time of his arrest, Ali and his associate, Chidiebere Kanu were planning the kidnap of a Federal lawmaker and an expatriate.” Kanu is said to be presently at large.
The security agency also said two suspected Boko Haram insurgents, Ibrahim Mala and Abdallah Modu were arrested on January 6 at Amba and Gudi villages of Kokona Local Government Area in Nasarawa State.
“The suspects, who are indigenes of Maiduguri, Borno State, had fled the military action in Borno and were regrouping in Nasarawa under different trade covers. While Modu sells children’s wears, Mala, who trades in perfumes, confessed to his membership of the sect and disclosed that he joined the Yusufiyya faction in 2007,” DSS said.
Similarly, Abdulkarim Dahiru, a key terrorist commander and an indigene of Okengwa, Okene Local Government Area in Kogi State, was arrested at the Specialist Hospital, Lokoja.
According to the statement, Dahiru was identified as the main coordinator of several kidnappings as well as other robbery activities in Kogi and Edo States.
The DSS said further security operations conducted between January 3 and 7 across some flashpoints in Lagos State led to the arrest of seven kidnap suspects, six of whom, namely; Gilbert Koku Nelson, John Nelson, Adekoya Kazeem, Muhammad Lawal, Abu Yahro and Kelvin Nwanaji, were arrested in connection with the kidnap of a management staff of Dangote Company. The two other suspects, Abdullahi Bello, a Customs officer and Bello Gumel were apprehended at Navy Town, Ojo Local Government Area and Naval Base, Alakija, Lagos, respectively, in connection with the kidnap of another Customs officer, on December 20, 2016. Opuiyo said members of the above gang specialised in spying on senior company executives and laying ambush for kidnap and robbery operations for huge ransoms.
“On January 7, one Muhammad Auwal was arrested at Andaza village in Kiyawa LGA of Bauchi State, in connection with Boko Haram activities. Auwal, who was arrested with the sum of N300,000.00 on him, is believed to be a drug supplier to the Boko Haram sect in Sambisa Forest.”
“Also on January 7, the Service also arrested the trio of Elijah Awua, Joseph Ejakja and Hope Nathan at Kanshio, Otukpo Road, Makurdi, Benue State. The suspects are members of a notorious kidnap syndicate that has been responsible for several kidnap operations in Nasarawa, Benue and Plateau States. Their most recent venture was the gang’s abduction of a staff of Radio Benue, Makurdi on December 2, 2016,” the DSS said.
It said the suspects were arrested with a silver-colour Toyota RAV4 vehicle marked ABJ AQ 720 KUJ. It added that two other members of the syndicate identified as Gabriel Joshua and Timothy (FNU) were on the run and being trailed.
On January 8, one Bello Mohammed (aka Awilo), described as the leader of a syndicate that specialized in car theft and burglary in Gombe State was arrested at Jekadafari area of Gombe metropolis of the State.
The DSS said Mohammed’s confession to being the kingpin of the syndicate in the state led to the arrest of his associate, Abdullahi Ibrahim (alias Dibal), who is believed to be the arrowhead of the gang in the North-East. Ibrahim also disclosed that he had stolen 10 cars in Gombe, and based on his confession, two buyers of the stolen cars, identified as Surajo Ali Gombe and Danjuma Baka have been arrested.
The DSS said the successes were recorded as a result of proactive and credible intelligence offered by patriotic citizens, and the effective cooperation of sister agencies and other relevant stakeholders.