Joint Security Forces Engage Criminal Gang In Kogi, Neutralize Leader
A collaborative effort undertaken by the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police, Department of State Services, and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps to confront a notorious criminal gang in Kogi State has yielded effort as the gang leader, Kabir Bala was neutralized.
During a press conference held at the Kogi State Police Command headquarters in Lokoja, Commissioner of Police Akeem Yusuf provided details of the operation. He explained that upon spotting the security team at around 4:30 am on Thursday, Bala, also known as Okwo, and his gang members opened fire on the operatives. The security team promptly retaliated, resulting in the neutralization of Kabir Bala while other members of his gang managed to escape with varying degrees of injuries.
The joint operation was initiated following discussions held during a State Security meeting addressing the surge in criminal activities within the state. CP Yusuf mentioned that the Kogi State Government had previously granted Bala a pardon in October 2018, as part of an effort to rehabilitate the infamous gang leader in Ejule, Ofu Local Government Area. However, Bala had since become an unrepentant criminal, involved in numerous heinous acts such as illegal arms dealing, kidnappings, and killings throughout the state. Among the crimes attributed to him were the burning alive of Mrs. Salome Abu, a PDP woman leader in Ofu LGA, the killings of two Igala youths, Umoru Areh and Unekwu Sule, at Ejule, and the murders of five Fulani herders named Ibrahim, Haruna, Shuaibu, Muhammed, and Dauda.
Additional crimes committed by Bala and his gang included an attack on Nigerian Navy troops, during which they seized four rifles that were later returned following intervention. They also assaulted Elisha Aya, a pastor and founder of Kingdom Faith Assembly in Ejule, extorting one million naira from him for establishing a church. Moreover, they invaded the Egane Fulani settlement, burning 213 huts and stealing 122 cows on December 25, 2022, as well as assaulting the Lord’s Chosen Church in Ejule, resulting in a gunshot injury to a worshipper named Joy Abuh. Furthermore, Bala was also said to be responsible for seven kidnappings along the Itobe-Anyigba highway between May 5 and May 28, 2023.
During the State Security Council meeting held on June 20, 2023, decisions were made to apprehend known associates of Kabir Bala involved in criminal activities, recover illegal firearms in the possession of criminals in the area, and establish Joint Operations comprising the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police, DSS, and Civil Defence to apprehend the criminals and recover their weapons for the sake of peace in the state.
On June 22, 2023, at approximately 4:30am, the Joint Security team encountered Kabir Bala and his gang. The criminals opened fire upon sighting the security team, resulting in a confrontation. During the exchange, Kabir Bala was neutralized, while other gang members managed to flee with various injuries. Items recovered from Bala’s premises included one AK-47 rifle with three fully loaded magazines, six locally fabricated weapons, two phones, and charms.
The Police Boss, CP Yusuf has however assured the public that the police force would continue its relentless efforts to combat criminal activities and ensure the safety of lives and properties within the state.