Ondo suffers resurgence of kidnappings, killings, banditry

•Couple abducted, released after 5 days

•Millions paid as ransom —Source

•Couple released Monday night —Police

•We foiled 3 kidnap attempts within a month —Amotekun boss

•17 of 36 suspected criminals arrested were kidnappers

STAKEHOLDERS across Ondo State have expressed concern over the resurgence of kidnappings and sundry criminalities in the state.

A couple travelling along the Akure/Ikere highway were abducted while another traveller in another vehicle escaped into the bush along Akure/Ikere highway last week Thursday.

They were allegedly stopped by gunmen who shot sporadically in the air to scare other road users.

Recall that a few days before the abduction along the Akure/Ikere highway, a suspected kidnapper who disguised as a scavenger was arrested in Akure, the Ondo State capital over the kidnap of an 8-year-old girl.

The suspect abducted the victim after reportedly hitting her with a charm and thereafter put her in a sac. But her cry attracted her grandmother who raised the alarm and the suspect was arrested in the act with a wheelbarrow.

Also, two suspected killers of a popular socialite in the state, Oladoyinbo Adebayo, have been arrested after he was killed at a popular hotel and his corpse abandoned in his vehicle.

Meanwhile, Vanguard learned that police detectives from the anti-kidnapping section of the state command, local hunters and personnel of the state security outfit codenamed, Amotekun, deployed to smoke out the abductors and rescue the victims, failed to nip the menace in the bud.

The victims, who spent five days in captivity, were released after their families coughed out millions of naira as ransom.
Vanguard also learned that the couple was hidden in the forest and were released Monday night.

The kidnappers reportedly opened a line of communication with the families of the victims without the knowledge of the security operatives in the state.

How victims were kidnapped

A source in the area confirmed that the travellers, who were in two different vehicles, a Toyota Corolla and a white Highlander, were ambushed and kidnapped at about 8:00 pm last Thursday at the boundary of Ondo and Ekiti states.

The source said: “Their vehicles were riddled with bullets when they tried to escape that night.

“After the vehicles were forced to stop on the highway by the gunmen, the couple was taken into the forest around the Iju area, while the other occupant of the other vehicle narrowly escaped.”

To confirm this, a video, which was circulated on social media, showed the two abandoned vehicles which were riddled with bullets on the highway.

The occupants were missing while other travellers milled around the vehicles and rained curses on the abductors.

Another source told Vanguard that “the incident happened in the evening and it came to our knowledge on Friday morning when we saw the vehicles riddled with bullets.

“We reported the incident to the police in the area and they have visited the scene of the incident.”

Abducted couple released—Ondo Police

The spokesperson for the Police Command, Funmi Odunlami, who confirmed the incident, said that “only a couple was abducted while the other occupant of the other vehicle fled the scene.”

Odunlami said that the couple had been released by their abductors after five days in captivity. She, however, claimed ignorance of the payment of ransom by the family of the victims.

Ransom paid in millions —Family source

A source close to the victims, in a chat with Vanguard, said: “Millions of naira was paid as ransom before the couple was released by their captors. It wasn’t easy, but we thank God. They’re alive and receiving medical treatment.”

How we foiled three kidnap attempts within a month —Amotekun

When contacted, the state Commander of Amotekun, Chief Adetunji Adeleye, told Vanguard that 19 suspected kidnappers were arrested by the security outfit.

Adeleye said: “In the last month, there were three kidnap activities that we foiled successfully.

“This means that in the last month, there have been no successful kidnapping activities in the state.

“I must say that with the cooperation of other state security agencies, we have been able to reduce the criminal activities in the state.”

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