No fewer than 12 cattle rustlers with six minors have been paraded by the Gombe State Police Command on Monday.
Our correspondent reports that about 483 cows, sheep, ram, donkeys, out of about 500 said to have been rustled from Plateau, Bauchi and Taraba states were with them.
Parading the suspects, the Commissioner of Police, Ishola Babaita, said the suspects were arrested in Billiri Local Government Area due to credible information from sources on recent activities of rustlers in neighbouring states.
Babaita revealed that it took the intervention of his men, vigilante members and hunters to arrest the alleged criminals, who were in transit to another location.
According to him, among other items recovered included two AK-47 rifles, one AK-49 rifle, 320 rounds of live ammunition, 14 empty magazine, three cutlasses and N994,000 in cash.
He said, “Based on credible intelligence that suspected cattle rustlers have rustled over 500 cows from Plateau, Bauchi and Taraba states in large numbers and heading towards Gombe through Bauchi area. The police tactical teams in collaboration with vigilante group and local hunters, mobilised and trailed the rustlers where they were intercepted around Kalmai junction in Billiri LGA of Gombe State.
“The fleeing rustlers abandoned 483 cows, 186 sheep and ram, three Donkeys, two Bajaj boxers motorcycles, two Honda motorcycles, seven Tecno handsets, one Max phone, one Foxkong phone, and the sum of N994,000 was found in their possession.”
While lauding the efforts of residents due its credible information which he said had supported the successful operation of the command, Babaita urged for more collaboration, assuring that the state would not be habitable for criminals.
“The case has been transferred to the State CID for discreet investigation and prosecution. I want to further reassure the public that the Command under my watch will relentlessly continue to pursue the criminals from all nooks and crannies of the state and will not give them room to hibernate,” Babaita added.
Also speaking, Adamu Kupto, the Commissioner for Internal Security and Ethical Orientation said that efforts were on to commence the profiling of the animals to ascertain its actual owners.
“We will start the profiling of the animals to know their owners, the states involved and other things,” Kupto added.
On his part, the Supervising Commissioner for Information, Meshack Lauco, said the state would continue to partner with other states, security agencies in achieving peaceful co-existence.
Lauco said, “We were able to achieve this based on the support of the governor to security agencies. If not for the governor’s stand on peace and security, may be we wouldn’t have had this.”