The suspected kidnappers of three female students of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary in Ikorodu, Lagos State, have been paraded.
The girls identified as — Timilehin Olosa, Tofunmi Popoola and Deborah Akinayo — were kidnapped by gunmen on Monday in their school premises.
One of the security agents involved in the rescue operation told Punch that it was discovered that the victims were initially taken to Adamo forest immediately after their abduction.
Adamo forest is across the river in Lugbusi community, where the school is situated in Ikorodu.
According to the source:
“We gathered that the kidnappers were 12 men, and they came in eight canoes. They used seven AK-47 rifles for the operation.
“One of the men, who we later identified as Lamiameni, brought the kidnapping job to the gang, while another member, known as Felix, alias Tradition, was the one communicating with the families for ransom negotiation.”
Another source said from the forest, the gang moved to a creek, located between Ikorodu and Epe, Lagos State, where they also held the girls.
Security agents were said to have had the first break on March 4, when a suspected kidnapper, Emmanuel Arigidi, aged 37, was sent by the gang from the creeks to buy foodstuffs.
He was said to have bought foodstuffs big enough for an army, which confirmed the suspicion that he was a member of the gang. He was subsequently arrested.
“Arigidi broke down during interrogation and confessed to being a member of the gang that stole the schoolgirls. He gave us the direction to the place they were keeping the girls, and mentioned the names of other members. He even promised to lead the operatives to the location.”
It was gathered that after waiting for Arigidi for two days, the gang sensed that something was amiss and thereafter moved to an area around Igbo Okuta Bridge, Imota, Ikorodu.
It was gathered that possible hiding places had been discussed among the gang members during the planning of the kidnapping.
When security operatives therefore noticed that there were no activities in the creek, they suspected that the gang had fled the area. But Arigidi had no problem in revealing the place they could be.
Also, the relatives of suspected abductors mentioned by Arigidi were said to have been rounded up and made to plead with their people on the telephone to release the girls.
It was learnt that the fathers of two of the suspected kidnappers were allowed on Saturday to go after their sons to talk to them and other gang members to release the girls.
“At about 5am on Sunday, over 500 operatives, comprising the IG team, the Lagos State Police Command and other security agencies stormed Imota and rescued the schoolgirls at the Igbo Okuta Bridge area of Ikorodu,”
a source said. Two other suspected kidnappers were arrested during the operation.