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Thunder Strike: Troops overpower kidnappers in gunfight along Abuja-Kaduna highway, foil abduction of 18 passengers.

The Nigerian Military said on Friday that gallant troops of Operation Thunder Strike under the auspices of the ongoing Operation Accord, have foiled an attempted kidnap of passengers along the Abuja-Kaduna expressway by armed bandits on 25 June 2020.

Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche made the disclosure in Abuja.

Enenche said, “Sequel to actionable Human Intelligence on the activities of armed bandits between Olams and Alheri camp along the Abuja-Kaduna expressway, troops promptly deployed to the scene and engaged the bandits with effective firepower.

“Troops overwhelmed the criminals with high-intensity fire, forcing them to abandon their heinous mission and fled into the forest in dissarray.

“As troops engaged the bandits, passengers in the targeted vehicle, a Toyota Hiace Bus with registration number Lagos MUS-944FR travelling from Abuja to Kaduna, managed to escape in various directions into the surrounding bushes.

“However, the gallant troops, adopting an aggressive posture, pursued the bandits deep into the forest and inflicted fatal injuries on them while also exhibiting the requisite composure in recovering all the passengers who escaped into the bush during the encounter.

“Currently, troops are exploiting the general area of the incident, in search of the fleeing bandits with express orders to bring them into custody while aggressive patrols are underway along the axis.

“It is also important to state that all passengers in the targeted vehicle have been accounted for.

“Consequently, the Military High Command commends troops of Operation Thunder Strike for their vigilance and professionalism exhibited during this operation.

“The troops are further encouraged to remain resolute in curtailing the activities of armed bandits along the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway.

“The general public is hereby reassured of their safety while travelling along the Abuja-Kaduna corridor and indeed along all other highways across the country.”

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The group insisted that SARS has continued to use torture and other ill-treatment to execute, punish, and extract information from suspects.

According to a new report titled, ‘Time to End Impunity,’ released on Thursday, Amnesty International said it documented at least 82 cases of torture, ill-treatment, and extra-judicial executions by SARS between January 2017 and May 2020.

AI disclosed that the victims are predominantly males between the ages of 18 and 35, from low-income backgrounds and vulnerable groups.

Osai Ojigho,the Country Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, said, “The complete failure of Nigerian authorities to bring an end to the gross human rights violations perpetrated by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad or to bring any SARS officer to justice is shocking and unacceptable.”

“Nigerians are outraged by the systemic human rights violations perpetrated by the SARS with impunity.

“The systemic use of torture and other ill-treatment by SARS officers for police investigations and the continued existence of torture chambers within the Nigerian Police Force points to an absolute disregard for international human rights laws and standards.”

Amnesty International also said its investigation revealed a disturbing pattern of abuse of detainees in SARS custody despite the 2017 Anti-Torture Act.

The group said it has evidences and bore witness to the scars, bruises, and dried blood on victims’ bodies, pointing out that many of them were subjected to beatings with sticks and machetes and denied medical care.

As at the time of filing this report, Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba is yet to respond on request for Police response.

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