By Abba Gwale
The police have arrested two members of a gang involved in the abduction of a US citizen, Philip Walton, who was rescued recently in a joint operation between Nigeria’s troops and their counterparts from America and Niger Republic.
Walton was reported have been kidnapped on October 28 in Masalata village, Niger Republic.
However, he was rescued three days later by US special forces who conducted a raid on northern Nigeria where he was held hostage at the time.
Frank Mba, the police spokesman, in a statement on Thursday, said the suspects, identified as 21-year-old Aliyu Abdullahi and 23-year-old Aliyu Umaru from Sokoto state, were arrested on November 25.
According to him, the suspects were arrested following a special intelligence-led operation, adding that investigation revealed that the gang was plotting other abductions to avenge the death of their members who died during the rescue operation.
“The two (2) suspects – members of a 15-man kidnap gang of Nigerian/Nigerien extraction, led by Barte Dan Alhaji and Dan Buda – were arrested following a special intelligence-led operation aimed at arresting the criminal gang, disrupting and halting other criminal activities by them,” the statement reads.
“Investigations by the Intelligence Response Team reveal that the gang was plotting other abductions to avenge the death of their cohorts – 4 Nigeriens and 2 Nigerians who died during the rescue operations.
“The Force is collaborating with its Nigerien counterpart in the investigations to apprehend other members of the transnational syndicate currently at large.”
Mba also noted that the inspector-general of police is working closely with other members of the West African police chiefs organisation (WAPCO), to strengthen security and intelligence sharing along the borders of member states.
“The suspects will be arraigned in court on completion of investigations,” Mba added.