A combined team of security forces has neutralised a notorious gang leader, Kabir Bala, after a gun battle that lasted hours and caused traffic flow problems in Ejule town of Ofu Local Government Area of the Kogi State.
Bala is believed to be part of a gang of political thugs that four years ago burnt the home of a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Women leader, Mrs. Salome Abu, in Ochadamu, Ofu Local Government Area, killing her inside, as tongues wagged in the state that it was the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that sent the miscreants.
State Police Commissioner, Akeeem Yusuf, told journalists in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital: “Kogi State Government in October, 2018 had granted pardon in prerogative of mercy as part of rehabilitation of Kabir Bala, but consequent upon the decision reached at the state security meeting on the upsurge of criminal activities in the State, it was revoked.”
It has often been alleged in the state that when elections draw near, political actors facilitate the release and empowerment of criminal elements, who are given arms to unleash terror during elections, but are let loose on residents with their firearms after elections.
According to residents, they become a menace to society setting up a parallel government to collect levies from residents, and indulging in criminal activities, while politicians turn a blind eye or act helpless.
“Ejule has often suffered this fate before, during, and after elections. It is some kind of headquarters for thugs and criminal gangs in this Kogi East senatorial district. The security should dig deeper and exercise the will to neutralise these people in Kogi State. Elections are coming again and the macabre drama is soon to start,” a resident said.
But on Thursday, the police commissioner said, “We agreed during a security meeting to setup a joint operation comprising the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police, DSS (Department of State Services), Civil Defence to go after Kabir Bala and his gang to arrest them and recover the arms in their possession.
“Today, around 4.30 a.m. the operatives went to his residence to arrest him, but he and his gang members on sighting the joint security team opened fire on them and started shooting sporadically.
“The team engaged the hoodlums and the said Kabir Bala was neutralised in the process while other members of his gang escaped with varying degrees of injuries…
Some of the crimes attributed to Bala and his gang, according to the Police chief, were: “Several past cases traced to him include; the burning alive of Mrs Salome Abu, a PDP woman Leader in Ofu LGA in her residence on Nov 18, 2019 at Ochadamu, Killing of two (2) Igala youths; UMORU AREH and UNEKWU SULE on 20% April 20, 2022 at Ejule and Killing of Five (5) Fulani Herders in April 2022 and March 3, 2023 in Ofu LGA.
“He was also responsible for seven (7) kidnappings along Itobe-Anyigba highway from May 5 to May 28, 2023.
“Other crimes committed by Kabir Bala and his gang are: attack on troops of Nigerian Navy and dispossessing them of four (4) rifles at Alloma village on March 4, 2022; attack on Elisha Aya, Pastor and founder of Kingdom Faith Assembly Ejule on March 18, 2022 who later paid one million Naira to Bala as levy for establishing a church among others.”
Yusuf warned that the ongoing onslaught against criminal activities will be sustained to ensure the safety of lives and properties in the State.
Items recovered from Bala’s premises include; One (1) AK 47 rifle with three (3) fully loaded magazines, six (6) locally fabricated weapons, two (2) phones and charms.
▪︎ Featured Photo: Items Police paraded as recovered from Kabir Bala.