From Scholastica Hir, Makurdi

Men of Operation Zenda, a special Joint Task Force (JTF), headed by the police in Benue State, have dislodged members of a dreaded kidnap gang in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area (LGA), of the state.

Our correspondent gathered that the operation was carried out on Wednesday, March 27, by men of Operation Zenda, headed by the commander, SP Felix Nomiyugh.

A reliable source who didn’t want to be named said the police burst the bandits’ hideout at De-Mtsa, Michihe Council Ward of Katsina-Ala LGA, in the early hours of Wednesday, March 27.

The operation, the source said, followed weeks on the trail of the bandits believed to be remnants of the late gang leader, Terwase Akwaza a.k.a Gana.

It was gathered that during the operation, two of the bandits were killed while one was arrested.

The gang was said to be among the bandits terrorizing areas around Abaji, Tor Donga and other adjoining villages in Katsina-Ala LGA.

A local from Katsina-Ala LGA told newsmen in Makurdi that the breakthrough by the Zenda JTF elicited jubilation at Takum Junction, Katsina-Ala, headquarters of Katsina-Ala on Wednesday when the bodies of the killed bandits were being transported to the police headquarters in Makurdi.

Our correspondent reports that the Sankara axis of the state comprising Katsina-Ala, Logo and Ukum LGAs have been under the claws of bandits for years despite several measures employed by the state government and security agencies to nip crime in the but.

Recall that when the commander assumed the headship of the operation, he had pledged that his men would carry out their duty diligently in ensuring that the state command flushed out criminal elements operating in Benue State.

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He declined comments on the incident.

The state Commissioner of Police, Emmanuel Adesina, has confirmed the incident.

The Commissioner, in a statement signed by the Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO) SP Catherine Anene, said the
Benue police command dislodged bandits/kidnappers at Kastina-Ala.

The statement said “Following information gathered about the regrouping of bandits at Mba-Mtsar village, Kastina-Ala Local Government Area for their nefarious activities, a team of operation Zenda JTF was deployed for an operation in the area.

“Upon arrival at the scene, on 27/3/2024 at about 0515hrs, the bandits engaged the police in a gun duel but superior firepower from the operatives dislodged them.

“Consequently, two of the bandits sustained gunshot injuries and were confirmed dead at the hospital, one was arrested while others escaped with wounds and are been trailed by the operatives.”

She said exhibits recovered from the scene include; one type 06 rifle, three AK-47 magazines loaded with 7.6mm ammunition, 80 other ammunition and assorted phones.

The Commissioner who commended the team for bravery urged them to keep up the good work as taking the war on criminals is a better approach to fighting crime.

He called the people of the state to support the police with useful and timely information to enable them to achieve the desired results.