The Nigeria Police have arrested 19 suspects for alleged kidnapping and armed robbery on the Abuja-Jere-Kaduna-Zaria highways. The police Spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, who made the disclosure in a statement on Tuesday, said the suspects were arrested by the IGP-Intelligence Response Team attached to ‘Operation Absolute Sanity.’

Among the suspects is a 79-year-old man identified as Abdulrashid Riba, aka Baba Wakili, who the Police said admitted to have sold five AK 47 riffles to kidnappers.

Bature Adamu, 40, Sani Nasiru, 28, Samaila Yahaya, 30, Buhari Abubakar, 35, Kabiru Abubakar, 29 among others were paraded as members of a notorious gang which engages in kidnapping and armed robbery.

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Mr. Moshood, a Chief Superintendent of Police, named two other gangs he said specialise in armed robbery and cattle rustling as being responsible for several kidnappings, including that of one Imam Hakeem Kosoko, on the Abuja – Kaduna road.

He said the Police arrested the suspects while “working on actionable intelligence and in compliance with IGP’S directives to rid Abuja-Jere-Kaduna-Zaria highways and other major roads within FCT, Niger and Kaduna of kidnappers, armed robbers and cattle rustlers.

“Most of the suspects were arrested in the act after exchange of gun fire with the personnel of the IGP-Intelligence Response Team attached to Operation Absolute Sanity in their hideouts along Kaduna – Abuja road,” he said.

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He said four victims were rescued from the suspects and have been reunited with their families.

“The suspects arrested confessed and admitted the various criminal roles they played in the commission of the crimes,” Mr. Moshood added.

“Investigation is ongoing to arrest other members of the gangs at large. The suspects will be arraigned in court for prosecution on completion of investigation,” he said.

According to the Police Spokesperson, weapons recovered from the suspects were eight AK47 rifles, 320 7.56mm AK47 ammunition, 16 live cartridges, one GPMG ammunition with magazine. Others are two pairs of military uniforms, charms, car breaking/unlocking tools.