About 17 suspected kidnappers linked to the late Benue militia warlord Terwase Akwaza, popularly known as Gana, have been apprehended by a combined team of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) and other security forces.
The suspects were said to be responsible for the abduction of some people believed to be indigenes of Taraba State.
The Security Adviser to Benue State governor, Col. Paul Hemba (rtd), briefed journalists on the incident in his office at the Government House in Makurdi. He said the people were kidnapped last month on Wukari- Takum Road to trigger the crisis between the Tiv and Jukun people living along the axis.
Hemba disclosed that, miffed by the action of the kidnappers, Governor Samuel Ortom swiftly directed security agencies to swing into action and rescue the victims.
He said following the directive, a combined team of Operation Whirl- Stroke (OPWS), troops of 93 Battalion in Taraba State, men of the 72 Special Forces in Makurdi and Mobile Policemen in Takum swung into action and raided suspected hideouts where the criminals were hiding the victims.
The security adviser said 19 of the 23 abducted victims were rescued while the whereabouts of the other four were unknown. He added: “The hideouts included settlements such as Ajon, Igbudu and Tor-Don’t.
“The team was able to rescue 19 out of the 23 abducted victims and they are in search of the remaining four. “The gallant troops also arrested 17 bandits in connection with the kidnapping incident during the raid which took place in different parts of Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of the state.”
Hemba said the criminals were currently being profiled by the Department of State Services (DSS) at the 93 Battalion in Takum.
The security adviser reiterated the resolve of Governor Ortom not to surrender the state to criminals but work closely with security agencies to rid the state of all forms of criminality