The police in Abuja yesterday paraded 11 suspects for allegedly abducting the Deputy High Commissioner of Sierra Leone to Nigeria, Maj.-Gen. Alfred Claude-Nelson.
The envoy was kidnapped on June 30 on the Abuja–Kaduna road.
The suspects were paraded with some of the items recovered from them, including three AK-47 rifles, three AK-47 rifle magazines loaded with 90 rounds of ammunition and two sets of military camouflage uniforms.
The police said: “The gang leaderis one Rabiu Yusuf, 45; Second-in-Command, Garba Abubakar (aka Habu) 27; Yusuf Adamu, 20; Hussaini Musa, 25; Shuaibu Idris, 35 and Usman Bello, 20.
“Others are: Musa Ali, 45; Muhammadu Abubakar, 30; Suleiman Abubakar, 25; Gambo Ibrahim, 25 and Balarabe Mohammadu, 32.
Addressing reporters on the arrest and modus operandi of the suspects, the Force spokesman Don Awunah, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), said: “This dare devil criminal gang was responsible for the abduction of the Sierra Leonean Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Maj.-Gen. Alfred Claude-Nelson on June 30, 2016; the Executive Director of Dangote Group and many other high profile kidnaps for ransom in recent times.
“The modus operandi of these criminal elements includes mounting road blocks on highways while wearing military uniforms, surprise attacks on unsuspecting motorists and relocating from one point to another in the forest with their victims to avoid detection and arrest.”
Awunah noted that to reduce kidnapping and other crimes, Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris had reorganised the tactical operations teams to tackle criminality across the country.
On how the suspects were arrested, he said: “The Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the IGP, on July 2, carried out tactical surveillance of the Abuja-Kaduna axis and the adjoining states.
This coordinated operation led to the arrest of 11 members of the notorious gang, which has been terrorising the North central states; arms and ammunition were recovered from them.”
The police spokesman said investigations had begun into the matter, adding that the suspects would be charged to court as soon as it is concluded.
On whether a ransom was paid, Awunah said: “I’m not aware of any ransom being paid. The most important thing is that they have been identified by the victims.”
Abubakar confessed to have collected N1.5 million ransom for the operation.
The IGP has directed police commissioners and Technical and Operation commanders to improve the response rate on crimes and criminality.
Idris, who assured law-abiding citizens of protection of their fundamental human rights, also assured the diplomatic community of their safety and tight security in Nigeria.