By Isaac Ukpoju
Lafia – The Police in Nasarawa State says it has arrested 40 suspected cattle rustlers operating around Kokona and Nasarawa Local Government Areas of the state.
Mr Abubakar Sadiq-Bello, the state’s Commissioner of Police, told newsmen on Monday in Lafia that the suspects were arrested during a joint operation by a police special squad in collaboration with members of vigilance group and Miyetti Allah Association in the area.
He pointed that the sting operation, which lasted for some days, followed reports of increasing cases of kidnaping, armed robbery and cattle rustling around Udege-Mbeki, Mararaba-Udege villages in Nasarawa local government area as well as Odu and Agwada in Kokona local government area of the state.
Sadiq-Bello explained that the leaders of the gang died during a gun battle with the police, adding that 500 cows suspected to have been rustled were recovered in the process.
He listed other items recovered from the operation to include 13 motorcycles, one AK 49 Military riffle with 24 rounds of live ammunition and a pair of military camouflage uniform.
Similarly, Sadiq-Bello said 12 other suspects were also arrested as part of a mob that allegedly attacked a Chinese Mining Company (Kenyang Limited) at Udege-Mbeki village.
According to him, the suspects destroyed property worth more than N400 million on March 18.
He said some of the suspects had confessed to the crime and were assisting the police with useful information on the incident.
The commissioner noted that the new crime fighting strategy of partnering with stakeholders was yielding results and called for more synergy to rid the state of crime.
He expressed optimism that the success of the operation has brought respite to the affected communities.
Sadiq-Bello said that all the suspects would be charged to court as soon as investigation was concluded.