Police Bust Transborder Gunrunning, Kidnapping Syndicate, In Anti-Crime Sweep

On February 9, 2024, the Federal Intelligence Department – Intelligence Response Team of the Nigeria Police Force (FID-IRT) acted on vital intelligence, unveiling a clandestine network of transborder gunrunners operating within Plateau State.

The syndicate, suspected of funneling arms and ammunition to criminal elements both within and beyond Nigeria’s borders, was brought to light following a meticulous operation by IRT operatives.

Leading the operation, the police IRT apprehended five principal suspects: Mahos Jatau Mancha (alias Adis), Justin Abugieye (alias Austin), Joseph Zingkur Ayuba (alias Zed), Davou Chuwang, and Yakubu Benedict Bonat (alias VIP). Investigations revealed Abugieye as a pivotal figure, functioning as a transborder arms and ammunition supplier based in Obudu LGA of Cross River State. Abugieye’s supply chain traced back to Mancha, Ayuba, Chuwang, and Bonat, all located within Plateau State.

Yakubu Benedict Bonat confessed to selling four AK-47 rifles to Abugieye, one of which belonged to his deceased father, a former police officer. The remaining firearms were locally manufactured and sold to Abugieye. Another suspect, Ibrahim Maji, acted as a middleman in the illicit transactions. Maji was intercepted during the exchange of three AK-47 rifles to a buyer named Shetto Dogo, with an additional rifle and ammunition intended for personal delivery.

Further unraveling the network, Lucy Ogar, Abugieye’s female accomplice, and Paulina Abugieye, his sister aiding in arms deliveries, were also apprehended. Additionally, a clandestine arms fabrication facility operated by Joseph Zingkur Ayuba in Kuru, Jos, Plateau State, was discovered during the operation. During custody, Davou Chuwang was contacted by Majahid Muhammad Kyari and Buhari Musa, expressing interest in purchasing two AK-47 rifles. However, their intentions were thwarted as IRT operatives intervened, leading to their arrest.

The seizure included a cache of weaponry, comprising two AK-47 rifles, nine automatic pistols, and 1,800 rounds of live ammunition. The suspects, along with the recovered exhibits, underscore the magnitude of the syndicate’s operations and the collaborative efforts required to dismantle such illicit networks.

On March 1, 2024, a series of targeted police operations yielded significant arrests and confessions, shedding light on criminal networks involved in arms dealing, kidnapping, and banditry across several states in Nigeria.

Operatives of the Police FID-IRT, acting on credible intelligence, stormed Ogugu village in Jos, Plateau State, arresting Yakubu Mohammed, Zubairu Ibrahim, and Isiaka Musa. Yakubu Mohammed was found in possession of an AK-47 rifle and confessed to purchasing it a decade ago. Zubairu Ibrahim confessed to participating in kidnapping operations along the Benue-Enugu express road, revealing ownership of two AK-47 rifles. Isiaka Musa also confessed to owning an AK-47 rifle.

Additionally, a suspect arrested in Benue State disclosed the possession of an illegally obtained pump action gun. In another operation, Alhaji Habibu Isah was apprehended in Zamfara State for his involvement with a notorious bandit syndicate. He confessed to various criminal activities, including serving as a link between the bandits and villagers, resulting in significant financial gains.

Furthermore, Shehu Usman was arrested in Gusau, Zamfara State, admitting to involvement in the kidnapping of 40 female students from Federal University Gusau. He disclosed details of the operation and claimed ignorance of events in the other camp where victims were held.

Earlier, on February 12, 2024, in Taraba State, police operatives arrested Modo Haruna and Buba Ruwa, uncovering their involvement in arms dealing and cattle rustling. Buba Ruwa had evaded capture previously with 12 AK-47 rifles but was intercepted with two during a subsequent operation. Modo Haruna confessed to possession of an AK-47 rifle and membership in a syndicate specializing in illegal activities.

Efforts are underway to dismantle these criminal networks and bring all perpetrators to justice.

By Fikunmi Sokoya

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