A village chief, 21 illegal miners and three Chinese nationals have been arrested by the police for alleged links with suspected kidnappers and bandits near Azam village, in Nasarawa State.
City News learnt that Azam village shares a border with the FCT.
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The FCT police commissioner, Sunday Babaji, confirmed the arrest while addressing newsmen at the command headquarters in Abuja yesterday.
He said the arrest was a sequel to the decision of heads of security agencies in the region to curb the menace of kidnapping, banditry and other criminal activities within the FCT and its neighbouring Kogi, Niger, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue and Plateau states.
He said the exercise, which is code-named operation ‘Safe G-7’ was aimed at embarking on a massive raid and cleanup operation in all mapped out hideouts, camps and areas serving as a refuge to criminal elements.
According to him, operation Safe G-7 on Day two of their exercise, stormed Azam village, near FCT, upon actionable intelligence and discovered the illegal mining site.
He said the illegal gold miners, who had established relationships with bandits and kidnappers in the forest, engaged the security agents in a gun duel before the arrest of the suspected criminals.
He said exhibits recovered from the suspects included, refined and unrefined gold, two gold weigh scales, criminal charms, 17 mobile phones, four motorcycles, two Dane guns, shovels, cutlasses, two pumping machines, one generator and some substances suspected to be Indian hemp as well as other hard drugs.
Sunday noted that the successful operation was as a result of the joint task force in compliance with the G-7 mandates on day two of their operation which, he said, would continue patrol of villages sharing boundaries with Nasarawa State.
He said the illegal miners along with the bandits and kidnappers engaged the team in a gun duel, but they forced the suspects to retreat and were subsequently overpowered by the superior firepower of the JTF.
The CP, who said the suspects arrested were from the various states bordering the FCT, added that the security operatives enjoyed cooperation from the village head of the community.
He said the three Chinese nationals arrested would be handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service, with a view of establishing their immigration status in Nigeria, adding that the two suspects linked with the possession of the drugs would be handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)
CP Sunday, while registering the command’s unflinching commitment to the crusade against crime and criminality in the FCT, called on residents of the territory to sustain cooperating with the police and giving them useful information about suspicious persons in their areas.
He said they could always report suspicious movements, emergencies or distresses through the command contact numbers: 08032003913, 08061581938, 07057337653 and 08028940883.