The Deputy Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Jennifer Iwegbu, in a statement, said the suspects were killed during a gun duel.

The statement read, “The Edo State Police Command in its avowed commitment to rid the state of violent crimes, especially kidnapping, on Sunday, rescued a kidnapped victim, neutralised five kidnappers and recovered arms and ammunition.

“This feat was achieved following credible information given to the command that hoodlums, suspected to be kidnappers, were operating in Ughoshi-Afe bush, Ibillo, in the Akoko Edo LGA, Edo State.

“On receipt of the information, the command immediately mobilised its tactical team from Ibillo as well as the vigilantes and hunters to the scene.

“The kidnappers, on sighting the operatives, opened fire on them, which led to a gun duel that left five of the kidnappers fatally injured; they were later confirmed dead. One kidnapped victim, Mr Innocent Achebe (38), was rescued unhurt and has since been reunited with his family.

“Items recovered at the scene include two locally-made pistols, charms and cartridges.”

Meanwhile, the Ogun State Government on Monday announced that a 17-year-old kidnapped victim, Oluwatomiwa Akinlaja, escaped from captivity in Ikorodu, Lagos State.

Akinlaja, a student of the Redeemer’s University in Osun State, was reportedly abducted last week at the Sagamu Interchange, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

Akinlaja was on his way to join his parents at the Redemption Camp along the highway, when he fell into the hands of the hoodlums.

He was going for the 70th convention of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, tagged ‘Perfect Jubilee,’ which took place last week.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Ogun State Governor, Kunle Somorin, in a statement, said the student escaped from his abductors when security operatives swooped on their den.

“The victim, Akinlaja Ireoluwa Oluwatomiwa, is a student of the Redeemer’s University in Osun State. He was on his way to join his parents when he was kidnapped.

“Our security men trailed the kidnappers to Ikorodu, where the victim was being held hostage. Their arrival at the scene gave an opportunity for the victim to escape from captivity.

“We are happy that the victim escaped unhurt. He has since been reunited with his parents,” the statement added.

In a related development, the Oyo State Police Command has arrested a suspected kidnapper, who wrote a letter to a private university in Oyo town and told the management of his plan to abduct three students of the institution.

The state Commissioner of Police, Adebowale Williams, while parading the suspect, among others on Monday, said he asked the university to pay N10m to stop him from striking.

He was also said to have written a bank in the town to notify the management of his intention to attack the facility.

The police boss said, “The command’s monitoring unit has intercepted a kidnap mastermind whose mode of operation is to run detailed background checks on victims and then inform them through writing of his intentions to abduct them unless a stipulated amount of money is sourced and paid to him.

“Preliminary investigations revealed that on Thursday, August 11, 2022, around 8am, members of a notorious kidnapping syndicate sent a hand-written note to the management of a private university in Oyo town, wherein they threatened to abduct three of its students should the management fail to pay N10,000,000 within a stipulated period.

“The threat, as expected, disrupted academic activities within the university, stirring panic and uncertainty in the university community.

“Basking in the euphoria of what they presumed was a successful scheme, and blinded with greed, they decided to extend a similar (hand-written) notification to the branch office of a new generation bank within Owode area, Oyo, with the intention of invading it later in the week.

“Consequent upon the above, discreet forensic-based investigations were carried out and this led to the arrest of one Azeez Mufutau, whose phone numbers were inscribed on the hand-written notes sent to both the school management and the bank.

“Upon questioning, the suspect confirmed that the phone number on the note was his but denied being the author of the document.

“The investigation further led to the arrest of one Olarinde Adekunle, 37, who confessed to being the author of the hand-written notes under scrutiny and added that Azeez Mufutau was used as a decoy for the purpose of concealing his direct involvement.”

According to him, a Tecno phone was recovered from the suspect, who reportedly might not be mentally stable.

The command also paraded some alleged armed robbers arrested for attacking a PoS operator and dispossessing him of his proceeds.

Williams said the hoodlums struck at the shop of the operator, Abass Taiwo, around 8.30pm on July 23 at Oyo town and dispossessed him of his money.

Luck, however, ran out on them as the victim raised the alarm after the hoodlums left and policemen on patrol arrested the suspects.

In the similar vein, suspected gunmen on Sunday invaded Orie Market in Agbedo community, Apayan, in the Igalamela/Odolu Local Government Area of Kogi State, killing one person.

The hoodlums were said to have also abducted a trader and demanded N20m as ransom.

Gathered that the gang stormed the market around 2pm and started shooting to scare people in the market.

One Johnson was reportedly hit by bullets and died on the spot.

One other person was said to have been abducted and taken to an unknown place.

It was learnt that the hoodlums had contacted family members of the victim and demanded a ransom of N20m.

The Kogi State Police Public Relations Officer, Willy Aya, confirmed the incident.

He noted that it was a case of “invasion” of Johnson’s shop.

“After he was killed, one Edwin was abducted along many others on the market day,” he added.