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Police kill four suspected kidnappers in Rivers State

On 12 December, the police in Rivers State reported that it had smashed a four-man gang of kidnappers in the Oyigbo Local Government Area of the state.  The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Suleiman Abba, said the kidnappers, who had been responsible for most abductions in the state, were gunned down during an exchange of fire with policemen.

According to the Commissioner, the police got an alert that the suspected criminals were in an uncompleted building in the area and the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) for Oyigbo immediately sent his men after them. He said on sighting the police, the criminals opened fire.  In the ensuing gun battle, four of them were shot dead.

While displaying the corpses of the kidnappers, the police chief gave the name of their leader as Chukwuebuka Okorie of Umuozu Umuapu in Isiala Ngwa, Abia State. He said Chukwuebuka had been “a criminal associate” of the late Obioma Nwankwo, more notoriously known as Osisikankwu, a dreaded robber and kidnapper who was gunned down by the military task force “Operation Jubilee” in Abia State in December 2010.

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Special Task Force kills 4 suspected kidnappers, rescues female victim, in Abia State

On 25 January, soldiers from the Special Task Force (STF) on Internal Security in Abia State, codenamed ‘Operation Jubilee,’ killed four suspected kidnappers in Aba, the commercial hub of the state. One of the men killed is suspected to have been the third in command to the late kidnap kingpin, Obioma Nwankwo a.k.a Osisikankwu, who was killed by security forces on 12 December 2010.

Local sources said the suspected criminals met their end after they had siezed a lady and taken her to their hideout in a dense forest, near a community in Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area. Tipped by community residents, soldiers from the STF went after the kidnappers. In a shoot-out, the soldiers gunned down all the four kidnappers and rescued their captive.

The Special Task Force, a combination of intelligence operatives, police and the military, was deployed in Abia State in October 2010, to curb a surge of violent crime that peaked with the kidnapping of 15 minors in a school bus in September 2010. Residents of Aba and its environs say the STF has had a significant effect in improving security around the city.

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