Police Arrests 8,175 Suspected Bandits, Some in Abuja, Kaduna, Zamfara in 12 Months is really a record breaking and great achievement for the police department in the Northern Part of Nigeria. So officially, they are so happy that they could achieve this, though in other words, some of arrested bandits are still not detained, while some are being fed well.
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The police have killed no fewer than 17 bandits terrorizing commuters on the Abuja-Kaduna highway within the past two weeks. The force also said it had taken into custody 8,175 crime suspects, comprising 1,684 armed robbery suspects; 1,426 murder suspects; 1,451 suspected kidnappers; 1,545 suspected cultists, and others in the past 12 months. Disclosing these in a phone interview with The PUNCH on Monday, the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, a Commissioner of Police, said the suspects were apprehended at the Abuja-Kaduna highway, Kafanchan, Zaria, Gwari axis, Zamfara, Katsina, Niger and the outskirts of Abuja and other parts of the North-West and North-Central geopolitical zones.
Ahead of the Christmas and New Year celebrations, Mba said the force had changed its strategies to meet the challenges of the criminality going on in the North-West and North-Central zones. He stated, “We have neutralised a lot of bandits on that (Abuja-Kaduna) highway recently. Within the last two weeks, we have neutralised over 17 bandits in different operations on that highway and also recovered arms and ammunition. Some of them were arrested alive and are helping with our investigations.”
The police further said they had deployed undercover operatives in the dark spots and at vulnerable areas as part of the new strategy to stay ahead of the hoodlums. The deployment of plainclothes operatives, Mba explained, made it easier for security agencies to move into the bandits’ territory undetected. He also revealed that the undercover personnel were able to blend in with the environment thus enhancing a clinical finish to their operations. He said, “We are rejigging and upscaling our deployment on that road ahead of Christmas. More deployments are being done; we are doing more undercover operations because we discovered that to even be more effective.
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“They are able to launch coordinated and surprise attacks; they are able to move quickly into the territory of the bandits undetected. They can elicit information from members of the public faster and easier and camouflage and blend with their environment. “In all, it has given us more results. So, while we are also doing uniform deployments in other to boost the confidence of the people, or operational effectiveness, we are doing more of undercover and un-uniformed operatives. We believe that we can provide security and safety for citizens on that road.”
Giving a breakdown of the successes recorded by the police, the force spokesman said over 20,000 criminal cases were at various stages of prosecution at different courts across the country. He stated, “Between January and now, a total of 8,715 notorious, hardened criminal suspects have been arrested by the Force Intelligence Bureau, particularly, IRT (Intelligence Response Team) and STF (Special Task Force).
“Among these are 1,684 armed robbery suspects; 1,426 murder suspects; 1,451 suspected kidnappers; 1,545 suspected cultists, among others. A total of 1,784 sophisticated firearms, including RPGs (Rocket-Propelled Guns) and GPMGs (General Purpose Machine guns), were recovered and a total of 41,553 live ammunition of different caliber were also recovered. “We have over 20,000 active cases nationwide being prosecuted in different courts. Out of these, over 1,570 convictions were secured by the Force legal section. So, a whole lot is being done behind the scene to stabilize the security situation across the entire length of the country.”
The police acknowledged that banditry was a highly-organized criminal activity with different types of participants. On the reported collaboration of some communities with bandits and kidnappers, Mba said hundreds of suspected moles and collaborators have been arrested, including those providing prostitutes for bandits and kidnappers in their camps.