Nine passengers from a commercial bus that were kidnapped in the Owukpa forest along the Otukpa – Enugu road have been freed by military troops participating in Operation Whirl Stroke, or OPWS.
Two suspected members of the kidnapping gang were arrested as a result of the operation, which was conducted by troops from Sector 6 of OPWS in cooperation with police officers and members of the Benue State Community Volunteer Guard, or BSCVG. Ten cell phones and an AK-47 rifle were also recovered.
The Force Commander OPWS, Maj. Gen. Sunday Igbinomwanhia in a statement Thursday in Makurdi that the operation, which was carried out Tuesday at about 10:30 a.m., was premised on credible intelligence on the kidnapping of the passengers and the hideout of the armed gang.
According to him, the troops “stormed the hideout of suspected kidnappers at Owukpa forest in Ogbadibo LGA of Benue State. The raid operation was premised on the kidnap of passengers transiting in a commercial bus along Otukpa-Enugu Road on January 11, 2024.
“During the firefight, the suspected kidnappers fled their hideout due to troops’ superior fire power, abandoning their victims in the process. Further exploitation of the general area led to the arrest of two of the suspected kidnappers.
“Items recovered at the scene includes one AK 47 Rifle and 10 mobile phones. The rescued kidnap victims made up of eight women and a male were immediately moved to the Sector Headquarters and given First Aid.
“They were subsequently moved to the Force Headquarters OPWS where they were debriefed by the Force Commander of OPWS, and later released to proceed to their respective destinations.
“The arrested suspects and all items recovered during the raid have been duly handed over to the NPF for their further action.”
Gen. Igbinomwanhia lauded the locals for providing the information that led to the discovery of the hideout of the kidnap gang and the subsequent rescue of the victims.
He asked the people of Benue, Nasarawa, and Taraba states to keep using the emergency numbers that the Command had provided in order to give OPWS reliable information that would help with their operations in those three states.