Thirteen kidnap victims were on Saturday rescued by a combined team of security operatives in Edo State, in an operation led by the state police commissioner, Philip Ogbadu. The lucky victims were rescued from the notorious kidnappers’ den in the Ahor axis of Aduwawa at the Bypass linking the Benin-Auchi Expressway, in Uhunmwonde local government area of the state. The security team included men and officers of the Edo State Police Command, local hunters, and members of the Edo State Vigilante Security Network, ESVSN.
The 13 freed persons included two separate sets of travellers who were kidnapped on Thursday, with one travelling from Lagos to Akwa Ibom State, and the other en route Onitsha, Anambra State, from Lagos.
Addressing journalists after the rescue operation, the police commissioner said the Command deployed drones, and was assisted by hunters and members of the Vigilante Security Network set up by the state government.
According to Ogbadu, “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.”
Assuring that the command would not relent in its quest to rid the state of kidnappers, the police boss said “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 seven camps and we will make these camps visiting points so that they will not be able to come back”.
Ogbadu urged residents in communities along Ahor-Auchi Road to provide relevant information about the activities of kidnappers to the authorities. He said “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.”
The Police Commissioner said the command would also carry out regular patrols and mount checkpoints along the road. He said the rescued victims had 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 respective destinations.
Coordinator of the Vigilante security outfit, Yusuf Haruna, said the success of the operation was a testament to what Edo State Government had been 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,” Haruna stated.