Police, Amotekun, arrest 18 suspected bandits in Ondo
’They Came From Katsina With Dangerous Weapons’
Less than 48 hours after the Nigerian Army dismantled the checkpoints in Ondo State, personnel of the state security agency, otherwise known as Amotekun Corps, have apprehended no fewer than 18 suspected bandits with dangerous weapons.
The suspects, who are from Michi in Katsina State, were arrested with guns and over 500 different kinds of daggers, swords, poisoned jack knives and live ammunition concealed in bags filled with tiger nuts.
They were alleged to have been deployed to invade the state on Thursday shortly after the 32 Artillery Brigade, Akure withdrew all soldiers from checkpoints and inter-state boundaries on Tuesday.
The Guardian learnt that the bandits were given a hot chase by the Amotekun corps before they were eventually caught in Ondo town, the headquarters of Ondo West Local Government.
While parading the suspects at the Amotekun Headquarters in Akure, yesterday, the Commander of the state security corps, Chief Adetunji Adeleye, said two of the three buses that arrived the state from Katsina escaped after the chase from Akure.
He revealed that a joint operation by the Amotekun corps and the state police command led to the arrest of one of the buses and its occupants in Ondo town. Adeleye added that the suspected bandits had, after entering the state, dismantled all roadblocks mounted to halt their escape, before they were eventually arrested in Ondo town.
According to the Amotekun commander, intelligence report as regards the movement of the bandits before entering the state aided the joint operation that led to the arrest.
“We got information that a group of men were coming to invade the state, so we set out our monitoring devices. And precisely at about 1:30am on Thursday, we saw three hummer buses that we had actually been trailing till they entered the state. They had a brief stop just before they entered. We tried to stop them but the three buses escaped, so we have to radio all our control points and we were able to bring the three buses to a stop at a point on Ondo road. It was a combined team of Amotekun, police and civil defence personnel.
“The buses attempted to crush the security personnel and speed off. In fact, the speed with which they took off, after stopping, was so much that they hit all the barricades on the road.
“We realised that it would be difficult and dangerous pursuing them and we decided that we should not cause any accident. We sent radio message to our station at Owena and the security men there blocked the road for all vehicles. On getting there, the bandits were able to escape by hitting the barricades again. We continued pursuing them, and calling the Ile-Oluji junction that they should block the road solidly there but they also escaped.
“After that, we completely blocked the road before the Akure garage in Ondo town and we were able to apprehend them,” Adeleye said.
According to the Amotekun commander, the bandits claimed that they were coming to Akure and the driver said somebody commissioned them from Kaduna State but that he did not know the content of the bag that was filled with tiger nuts.
“On opening the bags, we found some guns and rounds of ammunition. Under the seat, we found about 500 different types and sizes of dagger and poisonous jack knives cleverly concealed.
“When we asked them what they intended to do, they told us that they were just given instructions to go and that further instructions would be given to them,” Adeleye said.
The Amotekun boss, who vowed that the two other buses and their occupants at large would be nabbed, said the arrested suspects would be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.
The leader of Hausa community in the state and the Chairman, Miyetti Allah, Mallam Bala Umaru and Usman Bello, lauded the Amotekun Corps for the prompt moves to squash the planned attack.
Bala and Bello, who said they were born in Ondo and have taken the state as their home, denounced the suspected bandits and condemned any attempt to move such dangerous weapons from the north to the state.
According to them, the incident would have caused internecine clashes between the Hausa/Fulani communities and their hosts if the security agencies had not been proactive.
They rained curses on the sponsors of such deadly acts and prayed that the security personnel arrest the other suspects at large.