Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

Seventeen suspected criminals were on Thursday paraded by the Benue State Police Command for violent crimes ranging from armed robbery, kidnapping, rape and cultism.

Parading the suspects at the State Police Command in Makurdi, Commissioner of Police, Omololu Bishi said among those paraded were members of a deadly robbery gang who operated along Otukpo-Enugu axis.

Bishi said the gang had on January 18, this year, kidnapped a woman in Otukpo and were asking for ransom before the police waded into the matter adding that in the process, the woman was able to escape from the den of the kidnappers into the bush.

He explained further that the victim who subsequently found her way back to town later led the police to the area where the kidnappers had kept her.

On sighting the police, the suspects were said to have opened fire on them, a development which made the police to respond fire for fire, gunning down two of the suspects while seven others were arrested.

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Items recovered from the suspects according to Bishi include three riffles of different makes with 30 rounds of ammunition, five military camouflages, police uniform that was collected from a policeman at gunpoint during a robbery operation sometimes last year.

Other items recovered are 28 handsets, the sum of N4000, ladies handbags, rings, and jewelries watches.

Bishi said the police also smashed another gang of three armed robbers who were operating in Zaki-Biam in Ukum Local Governmnet Area of the state, killing the gang leader in a gun duel while the two other suspects including a 17-year-old secondary school student were arrested.

He said the gang had robbed some persons in the area at gun point and raped a 50 year old woman in the process after dispossess get her of her belongings.

The Police Commissioner who also disclosed that four suspects have been arrested in connection with the Gboko political mayhem urged political leaders in the state to warn their youths against acts that could disturb the peace of the state.

While expressing worry over the proliferation of locally made pistols in the state, Bishi advised those who are in possession of such firearms to immediately surrender them at the nearest police stations so that they can be pardoned.

He warned that anyone who fails to surrender such weapons, if caught, would be made to face the wrath of the law.