At least 97 kidnapped persons have been released by bandit terrorists from Shinkafi and Tsafe forests, following aerial bombardment by the Nigerian military.
Although police said they rescued them “unconditionally”, sources said the bandits released them to demonstrate their willingness for peace after intense military action in the forests.
The Commissioner of Police, Ayuba Elkanna, made the disclosure at a news conference in Gusau on Tuesday.
Mr Elkanna said the rescue was the outcome of the extensive pressure mounted on bandits as a result of the ongoing military operation around the camp of a notorious bandit, known as Bello Turji that covered Shinkafi, Zurmi, and Birnin Magaji Local Government Areas.
Recall that on January 3, Police Tactical Operatives deployed at Shinkafi axis, received an intelligence report that some kidnapped victims were seen stranded in the bush.
The police operatives in collaboration with genuine repentant bandits and vigilantes, swung into action and rescued 68 victims from the forest.
The commissioner added that the victims were in captivity for over three months and they included; 33 male adults, seven male children, three female children, and 25 women comprising of pregnant and nursing mothers.
The rescued victims were held from Magarya, Maradun, Gusau local government areas of Zamfara, and Sabon Birni LGA in Sokoto State.
Mr Elkanna also disclosed that on the same Monday, Jan. 3, Police Tactical operatives deployed in Tsafe axis, acted on intelligence report and stormed Kunchin Kalgo forest in Tsafe LGA, and rescued 29 kidnapped victims unconditionally.
He said that the victims were in captivity for over 60 days and were captured from three villages.
The CP said the villages were Adarawa, Gana, and Bayawuri in Rijiya District of Gusau LGA, adding that 25 female of both pregnant and nursing mothers as well as four male children were rescued.
The victims were said to have been abducted by a bandit kingpin, Ado Aleru.
Mr Elkanna said that all the rescued victims were currently receiving medical treatment from the joint medical teams of the state government and the police.
According to him, they will be debriefed, handed over to the state government before being reunited with their families.