Troops of Operations Whirl Stroke operating in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States have arrested 19 suspects in different parts of Benue and Nasarawa States for various offences bothering on armed banditry, kidnapping and weapons supply.
Parading the suspects at Tactical Air Command, Nigeria Air force, Makurdi on Saturday, the Force Commander of OPWS, Major General Adeyemi Yekini said that 13 of the suspects were arrested in Gboko and Katsina-Ala areas of Benue State.
General Yekini specifically identified Dauda Atara and Andrew Imbwase aka Don Moji as major armourers and suppliers of weapons to Benue’s most-wanted kingpin, Terwase Akwaza (aka Gana).
Among those paraded were two kidnappers who were arrested at Umaisha in Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
Speaking with journalists after the parade, Yekini said that the troops had broken the weapon supply chain fueling criminalities in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States.
“Our star suspect today is Don Moji. He is the number one weapon supplier to Gana; he is responsible for between 80 and 90 per cent of weapons that Gana had been using to terrorise the people of Benue State.
“Our intelligence team got wind of Don Moji’s activities about four months ago somewhere around Abuja.
“Just as we were closing in on him to effect his arrest at Abuja, he suddenly disappeared and reappeared a few days later at Owode Idiroko in Ogun State.
“We again sent troops to the area to arrest him but again he disappeared and for almost two months, we lost track of him. During this period, he did a lot of things to cover his tracks and hide his identity.
“So when he was sure that he had covered himself well enough after the two months period, he appeared again in Abuja to continue his weapons supply activities to Gana.
“This time around, he was not that lucky as we were able to arrest him with the support of Guards Brigade troops. We tracked him to somewhere between Kashi and Kurudu in Abuja where we arrested him”, Yekini explained.
The troops’ commander said that the suspect (Don Moji) had led troops to the main armourer of Gana, adding that the armourer was arrested around the North Bank area of Makurdi.
Yekini who added hat the weapon supply ring extends to Plateau and Taraba States vowed that troops would soon apprehend all those involved
He explained that the 10 suspects arrested in Gboko area were members of a kidnapping group under Shawa stressing that the group was responsible for the bulk of kidnapping and other violent crimes in and around Gboko.