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THEY were herdsmen of a different sort. Rather than shepherd cattle, they chose to resort to crime. According police reports, the suspects, who are now in Police net, allegedly specialised in robbing and kidnapping for ransom on the highways, brandishing AK47 rifles and other dangerous weapons. They were for a long time dreadful lords of Enugu – Port-Harcourt Expressway, sending chilling shivers down the spines of travellers on that busy highway; they dispossessed many of their money and peace.
Their reign continued until they decided to kidnap the boss of a member of the gang. This misadventure became their waterloo. It boomeranged and they landed in the arms of the dreaded Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT), headed by Abba Kyari, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, whose men have been the nemesis of many notorious robbery and kidnap gangs, including Evans. An IRT source revealed that an Ak-47 rifle and three locally made guns, were recovered from the four suspects.
The suspects were identified as Babangida Garba, Sani Mohammed, Ibrahim Dogo and Ibrahim Haruna.
They were arrested after they allegedly kidnapped a businessman, Alhaji Ulere, who sells cows at Lugbe area of Abuja and demanded a ransom of N1million from the businessman’s family.
The source further disclosed that the businessman was successfully rescued from his captors by the IRT operatives when they were alerted of the kidnapping.
It also disclosed that the kidnappers had threatened to kill the businessman if his relatives didn’t pay the N1million ransom 48 hours after it was demanded.
The source explained that the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, received complaints of the businessman’s kidnap, through a petition and he directed his operatives at the IRT to investigate and track down the kidnappers.
It was further learnt that the IRT commenced investigation into the kidnap at the time the kidnappers were demanding the N1million ransom and equally threatening to kill their victim.
“The operatives swiftly took over the negotiation and made the kidnappers believe that the ransom they demanded was ready and they were made to come out of their camp to receive the ransom, the source explained, adding that when one of the kidnappers, Ibrahim Dogo, came out of the camp to receive the ransom on the mountain around City Gate area of Abuja, he was arrested by the IRT operatives, who took him immediately into the camp where they found the victim, Alhaji Ulere, in shackles.” Other members of the gang fled immediately they sighted the police.” It added that Dogo’s gang members ran to their base in Enugu State, where they had terrorised residents for many years, but they were trailed and apprehended with their operational rifles recovered.
It was also learnt that Dogo and his gang members confessed that they had carried out several robbery and kidnapping operations at various locations along the Enugu /Port Harcourt Expressway.
The source explained that the gang confessed during interrogation that they came to Abuja specifically with the intention of kidnapping Alhaji Ulere, for whom one of their gang members, Sani Mohammed, had worked. The source stated that Sani Mohammed confessed that he brought his gang to kidnap his employer because he sacked him two years ago after accusing him of stealing one of his cows.
In his confession, Sani Mohammed narrated how he joined the gang, the operations he carried out with them in Enugu and how he brought his gang to Abuja to kidnap his former boss.
Sani said: “I am from Zamfara State and I am into cattle rearing. I have no formal education but I started as a herdsman because it was the business my father was into. I came to Abuja in 2007 and I started working for Alhaji Ulere but our relationship went sour in 2016; I left him and joined my friend who was into cattle rearing in Enugu State.
“Getting there, I discovered that my friend already had a gang that was into armed robbery and kidnapping. I joined him and we started robbing motorists travelling on the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway. We normally blocked the expressway with heavy woods in the dead of the night. In the process, we would force the vehicles to stop and from there, we would rob all the occupants of their cash and other valuables.
In cases where our victims looked rich, we would kidnap them and take them into the bush. They would be released only when their relatives had paid ransom on their behalf.
“I can’t count the number of robberies I had taken part in but the one that got me into trouble was the kidnapping of my former boss who sells cows in Abuja.
I told my friend, Babaginda, about my boss. I told him that my boss usually saw me as a thief and that he thought I stole one of his cows. I told Babaginda that I would want us to kidnap him. Babaginda accepted; he called our other gang members and we went to Abuja.”
He continued: “When we got to Abuja, I called my boss on the phone. When he came out, we kidnapped him and kept him in a bush here in Abuja.
“When we demanded a ransom of N1million from his family, they told us that they were coming immediately with the cash, not knowing that they had gone to the police. While we were waiting for Dogo to bring the money, we got information that the police were coming after us.To be on the safer side, we abandoned my boss in the bush and absconded”.
In his confession, Ibrahim Haruna, said he is the owner of the Ak-47 rifle and that he normally received the highest share from the gang’s loots because he owns the gun.
He disclosed that he regretted taking part in the Abuja kidnapping, stressing that his gang members got him into trouble.
“This is not the only gang I have worked with. There are several of them I worked with in Enugu and other states. I bought the AK-47 rifle for N 450, 000 in Jos, Plateau State, because people with Ak-47 earn more money after each operation.
It was Babaginda who invited me for this operation and after we picked the man. I didn’t know his relatives would bring in the police while we were waiting for the ransom. I regret getting myself involved in this kidnapping.”
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