Sixteen herdsmen who were suspected of kidnapping officials of the West African Examinations Council in Kishi area of Oyo State have been arrested by the state police command.
The suspects, who were nabbed by the police who worked with local vigilante, were allegedly recruited from Zamfara State by a kingpin who is also from Zamfara.
He is still being wanted by the police after he escaped arrest, it was gathered.
Commissioner of Police in the state, Abiodun Odude, said the gang kidnapped many people and killed some of them, with huge ransom collected before they released some of their victims.
The commissioner said, “A deadly dare devil murderous itinerant armed robbery and kidnap gang had been terrorising the peaceful town of Kishi, Igboho and Igbeti in Oyo State, killing innocent victims after dispossessing them of their valuables.
“The hoodlums, numbering about 25, who are mainly herdsmen, were recruited by one Kire, a notorious armed robbery kingpin from Zmfara State.
“They hide their victims in their seemingly impregnable fortress at the Old Oyo National Park for some days before freeing them after collecting huge ransom from their distraught and helpless family members.
“Working with local vigilante in the area, the police, after receiving a report about the gang’s activities, busted the gang and three suspected members arrested.
“They are Mohammed Kote, 25; Mohammad Legi, 26; and Kire Babuga, 20.
“They were arrested in their criminal hideout along Kishi/Igboho road and inside the Old Oyo National Park, Igbeti.”
The commissioner said the operation, which lasted 10 days, led to the arrest of 16 members of the gang in all, while more are being hunted.