The Abia State Police Command has arrested 16 suspected kidnappers and some suspected armed robbery alleged to have been terrorising residents of the state.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Leye Oyebade, made this known at a news briefing at the command’s headquarters in Umuahia on Monday.
He vowed that the command would deal decisively with criminal acts in the state and warned criminals to engage in legitimate business or leave the state.
The commissioner alleged that the suspected kidnappers abducted two relatives on Friday in Aba, while the victims were returning from a pharmaceutical shop.
He said that the suspects took the victims to their hideout in Uratta, from where they demanded N2 million as ransom.
He said that the police immediately trailed the suspects to their hideout where they rescued the victims and arrested two of the suspects while others escaped.
Narrating their experience, one of the victims told newsmen that they were accosted on their way from a pharmacy at about 9 p.m. by the suspects at gunpoint.
He said that they were blindfolded by the suspects and taken to their hideout.
He said that they were asked to call their relations to bring N2 million ransom, adding that they rejected their offer of N500, 000.
“They asked us to call our relations to bring N2 million ransom for them and rejected the N500, 000 offer we made and threatened to kill us,” he said.
The victim said “to our greatest surprise, a team of policemen came to the hideout on Sunday and rescued us.”
He thanked the police for their timely intervention saying, “I am now fully convinced that the Nigeria police are working”.
One of the suspects, who identified himself as Nwobilor and a mechanic apprentice in Ugwunagbo, near Aba, admitted committing the crime.
Nwobilor said that he was invited “to watch over the victims” by the prime suspect, who was said to have escaped during the raid of the hideout.
He said that last Friday’s incident was his third experience and pleaded with the police for leniency.
In a similar development, the police in Abia said a man based in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, had been arrested for allegedly buying a Toyota Highlander jeep reportedly stolen from the owner in Abuja.
The vehicle with registration number ABC 384 SS was allegedly snatched from the owner at gunpoint at Gwarinpa, Abuja.
The suspect, according to the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Leye Oyebade, was arrested at a police checkpoint at Umudike, on Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene Road, while he was driving the vehicle to Uyo.
Oyebade said that the arrest followed a signal from Force Headquarters, Abuja, regarding the vehicle.
The suspect, who claimed to be a farmer, said that he bought the car at N1.5 million at a hotel in Abuja, adding that he did not know that it was a stolen vehicle.
The police boss appealed to the public to always volunteer useful information to the police to help them in the fight against crime.