Ten kidnapped victims, including a nine year-old boy, were rescued from a criminal gang which specialized in robbing, raping and kidnapping innocent residents in an early morning raid at the mountainous forest of Darka and Huni-Gade villages in Kuje Area Council of the FCT on Monday, November 21.
The rescue operation was conducted by a combined team of 250 personnel of the Police Mobile Force, the Command Special Anti-Kidnapping Squad, Department of State Security (DSS), Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). The operations involved a coordinated rescue mission by ground forces and Air Force in the mountainous range of Kuje that served as hideout for the criminals.
Speaking at a media briefing attended by FCT Police Commissioner, Mohammed Mustapha, FCT Director of DSS, Commandant of NSCDC, representative of the Nigerian Army Lt O.B Oyegoke and the Chairman of Kuje Area Council, Danladi Galadima, the FCT Minister Malam Muhammad Musa Bello said two of the criminal gangsters were neutralized and their camp destroyed and secured by the police.
Unfortunately, an official of the Civil Defence Corps, identified as Anumudu Uche, lost his life during the rescue operation. He died after he was hit by a bullet during the fierce gun duel with the criminals. His body has been deposited at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital mortuary at Gwagwalada.
The names of the rescued victims are given as: Fanus Emmanuel (M), Babangida Emmanuel (M), Akimmi Dauda (F), Japhet Kwasu (M), Dorcas Shuaibu (F), Kemu Cheik (F), Hamza Yunusa (M), Umar Godiri (M), Ismaila Yusuf (M) and Abubakar Gomo (M).
The FCT Minister said security agencies have set up a surveillance mechanism that will mitigate miscreants from operating within the entire 8,000 square kilometers of the Federal Capital Territory, while the isolated border areas of Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Kaduna and parts of Plateau States are to be patrolled by joint security provided by governors of the states.
“We will clear the entire forest to ensure safety. We want to assure the villagers that this does not happen again. The people of the area should report to the security agencies and the traditional institutions the presence of strange and suspicious people around them,” Musa said.
FCT Commissioner of Police Mustapha attributed greed for money as the motivation luring kidnappers into crime as robbery was no longer lucrative.
“They are migrating from robbery to kidnapping and see forest and mountainous areas as safe haven because as a people, we have abandoned those areas,” he said.
The Chairman of Kuje Area Council, Alhaji Galadima, who confirmed the death of the NSCDC officer, commended the efforts of the security team. He said the prompt action of the team ensured that the kidnapped victims were rescued without payment of ransom.