Gunmen Shoot DPO in Benue, Kidnap Man, Wife in Edo

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Demand N15m ransom

By Adibe Emenyonu in Benin-city and George Okoh in Makurdi

The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of the Divisional Police headquarters in Otukpo Local Government Area, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Yahaya Pawa, was shot yesterday by gunmen.

This is coming as a couple at Ewatto in Esan South East LGA of Edo State was reportedly abducted yesterday by gunmen, who are now demanding N15 million ransom for their release.

The incident, according to sources, took place at the early hours of yesterday when the DPO led a team of policemen to arrest suspected criminals at Otukpo-Icho village.

The criminals were alleged to be selling stolen goods suspected to have been looted during the recent fire outbreak in Otukpo main market.

According to a source, who identified himself as Tony, “Some hoodlums seized the opportunity of the fire incident in Otukpo main market recently to loot the shops.

“The lid blew when the suspects were found selling some of the stolen goods such as clothes and cooking utensils in the community.

“The people in the community decided to inform the police, and a team of policemen led by the DPO embarked on a search operation at the early hours of yesterday.

“In the process, some of the suspects shot at the DPO and ran away.

“The DPO is currently said to be receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital in Otukpo.”

When contacted, the Benue State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Catherine Anene, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, confirmed the incident, saying the DPO was in stable condition.

“It is true that the Otukpo Police Station DPO was shot when he led a team of policemen on operation; he was shot in the arm but he is in a stable condition,” Anene said.

Meanwhile, at Ewatto in Esan South East LGA of Edo State, a couple was reportedly abducted yesterday by gunmen, who have demanded N15 million ransom for their release.

The man, a school teacher, and his wife, a petty trader, identified as Mr. and Mrs. Paul Aluola, were kidnapped by heavily-armed men last Monday afternoon while they were travelling.

The couple, before the kidnap incident, was regular travellers on the road linking Edo and Delta States through Agbor, Ekpon, Ewohimi and Ewatto.

Source close to the area disclosed that the suspected gunmen had “called the family members for ransom; they are currently demanding the sum of N15 million as ransom before effecting the release of their victims.”

According to the source, who preferred to remain anonymous, “The family members are wondering how a teacher can raise such amount of money.”

It was learnt that they were travelling on the Ewatto-Ubiaja road, and had approached the bridge at Ellah River when the gunmen, suspected to be herdsmen, opened fire at the vehicle they were traveling on and forced them to stop.

The kidnappers had dragged the victims off the vehicle and took them into the bush.

It was further gathered that the hoodlums abandoned the vehicle at the scene of crime, as academic activities at Iriwa Primary School reportedly could not hold yesterday due to the ugly incident in the area.

The Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Johnson Babatunde Kokumo, and the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Chidi Nwabuzor, when contacted severally yesterday on the incident, refused to answer their calls.