Nineteen members of a notorious gang of hoodlums responsible for large-scale killings in Zaki-Biam, Benue State, were on Friday, paraded before journalists at the Nigeria Police Headquarters in Abuja. Addressing journalists during the parade of the suspects, Mr.Jimoh Moshood. Spokesperson of the Nigeria Police Force said the suspects were responsible for shooting to death of 17 innocent persons at Zaki Biam on March 20 as well as the destruction of properties worth millions of naira. The Police also declared Terwase Akwaza, the gang leader, who is linked to the murder of about 50 persons.
After the Zaki Biam violence, explained Mr. Moshood, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim K. Idris, deployed the Police Special Tactical Force and a high-powered investigation team to unravel the circumstances surrounding the killings and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Preliminary investigations, explained Mr. Moshood, revealed that the gang is led by Akwaza aka Ghana, a serial killer, who had also been involved in the murder of about 50 people in other locations in Benue State.
Akwaza was also said to have been responsible for numerous kidnappings, robberies and cult-related violence in the state. Police investigation equally linked him to the murder of Mr. Deneen Igbana, Special Adviser on Security to the Governor of Benue State, Mr. Samuel Ortom.
Akwaza's notoriety compelled the Inspector-General of Police to order Special Police teams to find Akwaza aka and his gang members.
"This joint operation comprising the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian military and the Department of State Service for the arrest of Terwase Akwaza aka Ghana and his vicious criminal gang is currently ongoing in Benue State," said Mr.Moshood.
Its immediate result is the arrest of the 19 alleged members of an gang, who were said to have admitted, during interrogation, that they took part in the violence superintended by Akwaza.
The suspects, be charged who are in police custody will be charged to court on completion of the investigation, include Tordue Kaaor, H iikenter Orbunde, Vincent Asemave, David Terhembe, Dalhatu Abdullahi, Iortember Orkuma and Manasseh Ikyar. Also in custody are Nengene Ikyar, Joshua Ioraonya, Joseph John, Akowa Kwahve, Terwase Sabastine and Sunday Utza. Others are Umsughaondo Gbaga, Swem Utiu, Terwase John, Mbadon Mbati, Tame Buumbu and Godwin Iorhundu.
Recovered from the suspects in their hideout were items such as three AK 47 rifles,3 FN Rifles, one G3 Rifle, one LMG, one SMG, one double-barrel gun and Mark 4 rifle.
Similarly recovered were four single-barrel guns, four locally-made revolver pistols, five locally-made Rm revolver pistols, 36 hand-grenades, two local short guns, 141 AK47 magazines, 20 FN magazines and 18 6x G3 magazines among other arms and ammunition.
In addition to declaring Akwaza wanted, the Police also put a N10million bounty on him.
Mr. Moshood described the suspect as dark-skinned and without facial marks. He is said to be an indigene of Gbise in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State and speaks Tiv, Idoma and Pidgin English fluently.