The police in Bayelsa State said yesterday that tough times awaited kidnappers, cultists, robbers and other criminals following the launch of a crime-fighting strategy, Operation Puff Adder (OPA).
Launching the operation at the command’s headquarters in Yenagoa, Police Commissioner Uche Anozia said 25 suspects had been arrested through the applications of the new operational strategies.
He said the suspects were nabbed for kidnapping, cultism, robbery and other crimes, adding that some of the cases were in court with the suspects remanded in prison custody.
Anozia said seven locally-made revolver pistols, 28 locally-made single-barreled pistols, four-locally-made double barreled guns, two AK47 fabricated rifles and one beretta pistol were recovered from the suspects.
He said 23 .9mm live ammunition, 50 live cartridges and 48 7.62mm live ammunition were retrieved from the suspects.
The police boss said the achievements were possible following support and cooperation of traditional rulers, Police Community Relations Committees (PCRC), Community Development Committees (CCDs), Civil Society Organisations and others.
Explaining OPA, Anozia said it was initiated by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar, to tackle banditry, kidnapping and other crimes across the country.
He said in compliance with the IGP’s directive, the command set up a special squad comprising 170 gallant officers and men to officially launch OPA in the state.
Anozia said members of the OPA were selected from the Police Mobile Force (PMF), Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), State Intelligence Bureau (SIB), Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Anti-Cultism/Kidnapping Unit and Anti-Bomb Squad.
He said: “The operation is designed to source actionable intelligence to confront, annihilate criminals and mop-up illegal arms from unauthorised individuals. The squad will conduct intelligence-driven raids on criminals’ hideouts targeting cultists, armed robbers and kidnappers among others.
“Drug abuse is one of the major factors that fuels crime. This operation will target locations where illicit drugs are sold and consumed, confiscate and arrest the outlaws with a view to bringing them to justice.
“These operations will engage community leaders and youths in periodic meetings to find solution to the challenges of crimes in the society. The police will also utilise non-state security actors such as vigilance groups, community development committees and youth bodies to establish functional community partnership”.
The police commissioner added: “I hereby warn criminals in Bayelsa State to either shun crime entirely or alternatively flee the state because the command under my leadership will do all within its power to purge the state of criminals”.