By Kola Adeyemi
The Nigerian Army has confirmed the killing of three kidnap suspects and a soldier in Kogi during the rescue of oil magnate Alhaji Momoh Otinau Jimoh, on Tuesday.
The spokesman of the Command Army Records, Lokoja, Capt. Weri Finikumor, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on phone in Lokoja that some of the suspected kidnappers have been arrested and helping the military in its investigations.
Finikumor assured residents that operation “exercise cat race” was ongoing to curtail criminality and boost security in the state.
He said that the army would make details of the exercise public as soon as it was concluded.
The soldier and three suspected kidnappers died in Okene area of Kogi on Feb. 26 during a gun duel between some soldiers and a gang of kidnappers.
It was gathered that the gun duel ensued when the soldiers were attempting to rescue an oil magnate, Alhaji Momoh Otinau Jimoh, from the suspected kidnappers that abducted him on Feb. 17.
Otinau, chairman of Always Petroleum and Gas, based in Okene was kidnapped in front of a mosque in the town, while relaxing with friends.
A relation of the kidnapped victim who has been negotiating with the kidnappers was said to have informed soldiers believed to be part of those prosecuting “exercise cat race” of his intention to go and drop a ransom for the kidnappers.
The soldiers then decided to follow him with the intention to rescue the victim and arrest the suspects.
This, however, proved fatal as the kidnappers on sighting the relation approaching the designated point with the armed soldiers immediately opened fire on them.
In the exchange of gun shots that followed, a soldier and three suspected kidnappers lost their lives while Otinau also sustained gunshot injury.
A source at the General Hospital, Lokoja, also confirmed to newsmen that the corpse of the soldier was deposited at the morgue.