Police have arrested two members of a transnational kidnap syndicate involved in the abduction of a United States citizen, Philippe Walton, in his farm at Masalata village in the Niger Republic.

The US forces had on Saturday, October 31 rescued 27-year-old Walton after he was taken hostage by the armed men in the Niger Republic and held in the Northern part of Nigeria.

His rescue by the US forces on the country's soil sparked criticism from some individuals who argued that the operation was a proof of the inefficiency of the Nigerian military.

However, the police spokesperson, Frank Mba, in a statement on Thursday, said Walton's suspected kidnappers, Aliyu Abdullahi, 21, and Aliyu Umaru, 23, were arrested on November 25, 2020.

The statement read: "The two suspects – members of a 15-man kidnap gang of Nigerian-Nigerien extraction, led by Barte Dan Alhaji and Dan Buda – were arrested following a special intelligence-led operation aimed at arresting the criminal gang, disrupting and halting other criminal activities by them.

"Investigations by the Intelligence Response Team reveal that the gang was plotting other abductions to avenge the death of their cohorts – four Nigeriens and two Nigerians – who died during the rescue operations.

"The Force is collaborating with its Nigerien counterpart in the investigations to apprehend other members of the transnational syndicate currently at large."

Mba added that the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, was already working with other members of the West African Police Chiefs Organisation as part of efforts to tackle transnational crimes in the sub-region. 

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