The Special Task Force (STF) maintaining the peace in Plateau on Wednesday arrested nine persons for allegedly being in possession of sophisticated fire arms.
STF Media Officer, Capt. Slisu Mustapha, who paraded the suspects before newsmen in Jos, alleged that they were arrested around Du, Shenabe and Bisichi villages in Jos South Local Government Area of the state. Mustapha listed items recovered from them to include one AK-47 rifle, one FN rifle, one sub-machine gun, one locally made shot revolver and a locally made long revolver. Also recovered from the suspects were a bayonet, a knife and two rounds of 9mm ammunitions.
"We received a distress call through our recently launched emergency telephone lines around 10.20 p.m. on Tuesday about sporadic gunshots in the villages and responded to it immediately. "When our men got to the scene, they combed the areas and accosted the nine suspects who tried to get away in four vehicles but luck ran out of them as they were arrested.
The media officer said the suspects claimed that they were invited by the villagers to secure them, following an alleged attack on them by some cow rustlers.
According to him, the suspects claimed that they actually exchanged fire with the rustlers in Du village. Mustapha said the suspects also claimed that it was in the process of trying to ambush the rustlers that they were arrested by the task force. He said preliminary investigation had revealed that the suspects acquired the weapons from various sources within Plateau.
"Even if there was an attack on the villages, they (suspects) have no right to be in possession of such sophisticated weapons which are not licensed.
"They have no right to take the law into their hands. They should have used the emergency lines to call our men for rescue," he said. Mustapha warned individuals or groups bent on fomenting trouble to shelve such idea as the STF was ready to arrest them.
"People who have made themselves enemies of peace should be prepared to face the full wrath of the law," he said. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other items recovered from the suspects included four vehicles, five telephones and some wraps of Indian hemp. (NAN)