Seven kidnapped victims have been rescued by troops of Exercise Enduring Peace III in Ogumula village in Ohimini Local Government Area of Benue State.
This is coming in less than 24 hours, youths in Ohimini LGA blocked the Otukpo-Adoka-Owerto federal highway to protest incidences of kidnapping along the road.
One of the protesting youths, Edache Ochojila, had told journalists on Friday that 11 commuters were earlier in the week abducted along the road.
He added that the protest was triggered by how policemen seized a suspected kidnapper who was apprehended by youths.
Speaking on the rescued victims, Joseph Har, the Security Adviser to Governor Hyacinth Alia, said that troops made up of 72 battalions and 401 Brigade rescued the victims after they launched a search following credible intelligence he made available to them.
Har disclosed he had received information about the movement of some kidnappers with victims around the Igaji general area and promptly alerted troops of Exercise Enduring Peace III, who moved in and rescued the victims.
He noted that the rescue operation was carried out by Troops of 72 Battalion and 401 Brigade Makurdi in conjunction with the Civilian Joint Task Force.
“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 explained that the criminals on sighting the troops fled, leaving behind the victims due to the superior power of the troops.
He mentioned victims rescued to include; 19-year-old James Ebeh, Mary Ejeh, 40, Flora Alfa, 32, Mary John, 27, Ogumula Sunday, 18, Fidelis Ogumala, 55, and Stephen Onihi, 43.
Speaking further, Har revealed that the rescued victims were handed over to the village head, Chief Peter Ottoh Adakola, in the presence of the youth leader, Iduma Fidelis, and others after which they were taken to the general hospital in Otukpo for medical care.
According to him, the victims were kidnapped at about 5 p.m. on October 9, 2023, at Ogumula village and were rescued at about 6 a.m. on October 13, 2023.
Har who urged the people to remain calm noted that the troops were on the ground to fight crime and criminalities in the state, adding that the state government, led by Governor Hyacinth Alia was committed to ensuring the protection of lives and properties of residents.
“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 noted.