Laleye Dipo in Minna
There was confusion at the Gwari market in Minna, Niger State Thursday as the youths of the market disarmed and arrested five armed men who claimed to be policemen.
While the traders said the armed men dressed in police uniform and carrying AK47 rifles were kidnappers the police claimed that they were policemen from Lagos.
The five armed men stormed the market at about 9.00am and were said to have gone straight to the shop of a prominent trader in the market whisking him to their vehicle.
The youths alleged that the armed men were in the market to “kidnap” another trader and as a result mobilised to stop the act from taking place.
According to some of the traders, who spoke to THISDAY, all the gates leading to the market were locked to stop the armed men from escaping after which the youths and market vigilantes took them to the market police station where they were handed over to the security men before men of the Paiko road police station arrived the market.
While the police was combing the market, some youths descended on the armed men’s vehicle, broke its windscreen and deflated the tyres.
The armed men were later taken out of the market through the back gate to avoid any mob attack.
However, the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Muhammad Abubakar, when contacted, confirmed the story but said the “armed men are policemen from Lagos”.
According to Abubakar, the policemen reported at the police headquarters that they were in the state on special assignment but did not say why they were not accompanied to the market by the local policemen.
Meanwhile, as at the time of filing this report, the market remained deserted while men of the vigilante mounted security at all the entry points.
Last week, the police acting on information provided by members of the community discovered a den of kidnappers in Bosso area of the state capital.
Seven suspected kidnappers were arrested, while 14 AK 47 rifles were said to have been recovered from the three houses where the suspects were arrested.