By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
Thirteen kidnap victims have been rescued from a kidnapper’s den in the notorious Ahor axis of Benin bypass road, in Uhunmwonde Local Government Area of Edo State.
The rescue operation which took place on Saturday, was carried out by a combined team of men and officers of the State Police Command, local hunters and members of the Edo State Vigilante Security Network.
It was gathered that the victims were made up of two separate teams that were kidnapped on Thursday, with one set travelling from Lagos to Akwa Ibom state, and the other comprising persons travelling from Lagos to Onitsha, Anambra state.
The State Commissioner of Police, Philip Ogbadu, while addressing journalists after the operation, said the Command deployed drones and were assisted by hunters and members of the Vigilante Security Network, set up by the state government.
He disclosed that the rescued victims have been taken to Magnus Eweka Police Cottage Hospital for thorough medical examinations before they would be handed over to the state government to assist them proceed to their destinations.
According to him, “We used information provided to track the kidnappers. We took courage to enter the forest. This is how we would proceed with the operations going forward.”
Ogbadu, who reassured that the Command would not relent in its quest to rid the state of kidnappers, added that the security operatives would henceforth carry out regular patrols and mount checkpoints along the road.
He, however, urged residents in communities along Ahor-Auchi road to provide relevant information about the activities of kidnappers to the authorities.
“We are going to carry out general combing of the area so that we can identify their camps.
“So far, we have identified up to 7 camps and we will make these camps visiting points so that they will not be able to come back.
“We are going to seek more information from these communities as these kidnappers come to the road to buy food and they interact with the people,” he said.
On his part, the Coordinator of the Edo State Community Vigilante Security Network, Mr. Yusuf Haruna, said the success of the operation was a testament to what the state government was doing with the new security architecture in identifying and understanding behaviours of crime and criminality in the state.
“Crime is local, so we localised our architecture. We have chased the criminal elements away from the city to the suburbs and we are taking the war to them in the suburbs as well,” he added.