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Combined Security Forces Confront Infamous Criminal Gang In Kogi, Eliminate Leader

ByHybrid News

Jun 22, 2023

A comprehensive joint security operation was launched by the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police, Department of State Services, and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps in Kogi State, with the aim of apprehending a notorious criminal gang led by an individual named Kabir Bala.

The operation was launched on Thursday and marked the beginning of an extensive manhunt.

Speaking at a press conference, the Commissioner of Police in Kogi State, CP Akeem Yusuf, at the Kogi State Police Command headquarters in Lokoja, recounted the events that unfolded when Bala, also known as Okwo, and his gang members encountered a combined security team at approximately 4:30 am on Thursday.

Upon spotting the operatives, Bala and his associates opened fire, prompting the security team to engage in a confrontation. As a result, Kabir Bala was neutralized during the exchange, while the remaining members of his gang managed to escape, albeit with varying degrees of injuries.

The decision to carry out this operation was made by the security agencies following discussions held at the State Security meeting, which addressed the increasing prevalence of criminal activities in Kogi State.

CP Yusuf revealed that the Kogi State Government had previously granted Bala a pardon under the prerogative of mercy in October 2018. This gesture was intended to rehabilitate the notorious gang leader, who resided in Ejule, Ofu Local Government Area of the state. However, Bala had since demonstrated a lack of remorse and had continued his criminal activities, with numerous atrocities attributed to him.

The police chief mentioned an incident on March 4, 2022, in which Kabir Bala and his gang attacked Nigerian Navy troops and seized four rifles at Alloma village. However, these firearms were eventually recovered and returned to the Navy due to a high-level intervention.

Also, CP Yusuf disclosed that during the State Security Council meeting held on June 20, 2023, a decision was reached to revoke the state pardon previously granted to Kabir Bala. This decision was prompted by his escalating involvement in criminal activities, which were detailed by the police chief.

The police chief highlighted, “It is worth noting that in October 2018, the Kogi State Government granted a pardon under the prerogative of mercy to the notorious gang leader known as Kabir Bala, alias Okwo, in Ejule, Ofu LGA, as part of a rehabilitation initiative.”

“However, the said Kabir Bala remained an unrepentant criminal with lots of atrocities traced to him which includes; dealing in illegal arms, Kidnappings and killings in the State. Several cases had been traced to him such as burning alive of Mrs Salome Abu, a PDP woman Leader in Ofu LGA in her residence on 18th November, 2019 at Ochadamu; killing of two (2) Igala youths – Umoru Areh and Unekwu Sule on 20th April, 2022 at Ejule; killing of five (5) Fulani herders namely – Ibrahim, Haruna and Shuaibu along Alloma Road, Ofu LGA in April, 2022 and Muhammed and Dauda at Imoko in Ofu LGA on 3rd March, 2023.

“Other crimes committed by Kabir Bala and his gang are attack on troops of Nigerian Navy and dispossessed them of four (4) rifles at Alloma village on 4th March, 2022. Though, the Firearms were later returned to the Navy following high-powered intervention; attack on Elisha Aya, Pastor and founder of Kingdom Faith Assembly Ejule on 18th March, 2022, who later paid 1 Million naira to Bala as levy for establishing a Church; Invasion of Egane Fulani settlement, burning 213 huts, rustled 122 cows on 25th December, 2022; Assault on the Lord’s Chosen Church, Ejule on 29 January 2023 for disturbing his hotel with their service, during which Joy Abuh, a worshipper sustained gunshot injury on her left hand.”

“He was also responsible for seven (7) kidnappings along Itobe-Anyigba highway from 5th to 28th May 2023,” he added.

Providing additional information on the decision made during the Security Council meeting, Yusuf emphasized that the Security Council had unanimously agreed to take action against individuals involved in criminal activities and affiliated with Kabir Bala. These individuals were to be apprehended and held accountable for their actions according to the law.

Furthermore, it was determined that all illegal weapons held by criminals in the region needed to be confiscated in order to restore peace and stability to the State.

To effectively address this issue, the Security Council proposed the establishment of Joint Operations involving the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police, Department of State Services (DSS), and Civil Defence. These combined efforts aimed to capture the identified criminals and recover the illicit arms within their possession.

“Today, 22nd June 2023, at about 0430hrs in pursuit of the above, the Kabir Bala and his gang members on sighting the Joint Security team opened fire on them and started shooting sporadically. The team engaged the hoodlums; the said Kabir Bala was neutralized in the process while other members of his gang escaped with varying degrees of injuries.

“Items recovered from his premises include one (1) AK 47 rifle with three (3) fully loaded magazines; six (6) locally fabricated weapons; two (2) phones and charms,” the police boss submitted.

However, he made a promise that the police force would continue to combat criminal activities relentlessly, with the aim of safeguarding the lives and properties of the residents in the state.

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