A crack team of of Operation Zenda, a Joint Task Force, led by CSP Justine Gberidyer, has rescued nine persons including a medical doctor, Obadiah Etito, from the kidnappers’ den at Gaya, in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State.
Dr. Etito, a Chief Medical Director of Hope Clinic Makurdi and staff of Federal Medical Centre Makurdi was kidnapped on 13th May, 2023, while leaving his judges quarters’ residence for his place of work at Apir. The nine others were kidnapped at various locations and times.
Briefing newsmen at the command headquarters in Makurdi on Monday, May 22, 2023, the State Commissioner of Police, CP Okoro Alawari Julius, stated that he has re-strategized and drawn a plan to rid Benue state of criminality.
According to the CP, operatives of Operation Zenda stormed the kidnappers’ den, where they were engaged in a fierce gun duel.
One unidentified member of the gang was shot dead, three others arrested while other members of the gang escaped with bullet wounds into a nearby bush. All the ten victims were rescued unhurt.
“On 13/05/2023 at about 1900 hours, information was received that Dr. Etito Obadiah, a medical doctor with Federal Medical Center, Makurdi was kidnapped at Judges Quarters and his kidnappers had started negotiations for ransom,” the Commissioner stated.
“During investigation, a team of Operation Zenda JTF trailed the kidnappers to their hideout at Gaya Village, Utange council ward in Kastina Ala Local Government Area of Benue state.
“On sighting the Police, the kidnappers engaged them in a gun duel that claimed the life of one (1) of the kidnappers; three (3) suspects were arrested while others escaped into a nearby bush with bullets wounds. Ten (10) kidnap victims including the doctor were rescued unhurt.
“Items recovered from them include; one (1) locally fabricated AK47 rifle with 10 rounds of 7.62mm live ammunition, two single barrel riffles, one locally made barrette pistol loaded with three (3) rounds of .9mm live ammunition and two military uniforms. Investigation is ongoing,” he added.
Speaking further, the CP said police operatives also foiled a kidnap attempt along Makurdi-Lafia road and recovered firearms.
“On 21/5/2023 at about 1200hrs, while Police teams were on patrol along Makurdi-Lafia road, information was received that some gun men had accosted a vehicle conveying passengers to Enugu at Daudu with intent to move these passengers to an unknown destination and request for ransom. The Police swiftly moved to the scene. On sighting the Police, suspects abandoned their victims and took to their heels. They also abandoned a bag containing military camouflage uniforms and wooden guns. Victims have since been released to continue with their journey while investigation is ongoing to arrest suspects at large.”