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Troops free seven kidnapped victims in Benue

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Nigerian troops foil ISWAP attack in Damboa Borno state

Troops from Operation Enduring Peace III rescued seven abducted victims in Ogumula village in Benue State’s Ohimini Local Government Area.

In less than 24 hours, youths in Ohimini LGA blocked the Otukpo-Adoka-Owerto federal highway to protest kidnappings along the route.

One of the protesting youngsters, Edache Ochojila, told journalists on Friday that 11 commuters were abducted along the road earlier in the week.

He went on to say that the protest was sparked by how police officers caught a suspected kidnapper who had been apprehended by youths.

Speaking about the rescued casualties, Joseph Har, Governor Hyacinth Alia’s Security Adviser, claimed that troops from 72 battalions and the 401 Brigade rescued the victims after they initiated a search based on genuine intelligence he provided.

Har stated that he received information regarding the movement of certain kidnappers with hostages in the Igaji area and immediately contacted forces from Operation Enduring Peace III, who rushed in and rescued the victims.

He stated that the rescue operation was carried out in collaboration with the Civilian Joint Task Force by troops from 72 Battalion and 401 Brigade Makurdi.

“The troops, in conjunction with the Civilian Joint Task Force swiftly responded, combed the area in search of the kidnapped victims and rescued seven persons.”

He added that when the criminals saw the army, they ran, leaving the victims behind due to the tremendous force of the troops.

Among those saved were James Ebeh, 19, Mary Ejeh, 40, Flora Alfa, 32, Mary John, 27, Ogumula Sunday, 18, Fidelis Ogumala, 55, and Stephen Onihi, 43.

According to Har, the rescued victims were turned over to the village chief, Chief Peter Ottoh Adakola, in the presence of the youth leader, Iduma Fidelis, and others, before being brought to the general hospital in Otukpo for medical treatment.

The victims were kidnapped about 5 p.m. on October 9, 2023, at Ogumula village, and freed around 6 a.m. on October 13, 2023, according to him.

Har advised citizens to be calm, noting that troops were on the ground fighting crime and criminalities throughout the state, and that the state administration, led by Governor Hyacinth Alia, was committed to protecting residents’ lives and property.

“Those in the enterprise of mischief and criminality should take advantage of this window of the carrot approach and shun all forms and acts of criminality as the stick approach will be drastic and ruthless” , he said.

 

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