Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force have arrested two members of a transnational kidnap syndicate involved in the kidnap of a United States citizen in October.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, confirmed this in a statement on Thursday, about six weeks after the victim was rescued by US military forces in Nigeria.
He noted that the victim, Philippe Walton, was kidnapped on October 28 at his farm in Masalata Village in the Republic of Niger.
Walton’s suspected kidnappers, Aliyu Abdullahi, 21, and Aliyu Umaru, 23, both from Sokoto State, were arrested on November 25.
“The two suspects – members of a 15-man kidnap gang of Nigerian-Nigerien extraction, led by Barte Dan Alhaji and Dan Buda – were arrested following a special intelligence-led operation aimed at arresting the criminal gang, disrupting and halting other criminal activities by them,” Mba said in a statement.
He added, “Investigations by the Intelligence Response Team reveal that the gang was plotting other abductions to avenge the death of their cohorts – four Nigeriens and two Nigerians – who died during the rescue operations.
“The Force is collaborating with its Nigerien counterpart in the investigations to apprehend other members of the transnational syndicate currently at large.”
The police spokesman stated that the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, was already working in concert with other members of the West African Police Chiefs Organisation (WAPCO), as part of efforts to tackle transnational crimes in the sub-region.
According to him, this is aimed at deepening intelligence sharing among security agencies in the ECOWAS sub-region and strengthening security along the international borders of member-states.
Mba said the suspects would be arraigned in court as soon as the police complete their investigations.
The rescue of the American by US forces on Nigerian soil had sparked criticism from some individuals and groups in the country.
While some argued that the operation was proof of the inefficiency of the Nigerian military, the government condemned the insinuations.
The Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, who addressed reporters in Abuja on November 3, insisted that Nigeria was aware of the rescue operation conducted by the US forces.
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