The Police Command in Rivers says it has rescued a female lawyer abducted by unknown gunmen at her Port Harcourt residence on Sunday.
The victim, Miss Paulette Ajayi, was kidnapped and taken to a thick forest at Okomoko community in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers. The Commissioner of Police (CP) in Rivers, Joseph Mukan, announced the rescue in a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Thursday.
According to Mukan, the victim was rescued during a sting operation carried out by the command’s anti-kidnapping unit. “Our operatives stormed the forest at Okomoko at about 9.30 p.m. on Wednesday and rescued Paulette Ajayi, who was abducted on Sunday at her residence in Rumuokwurusi in Port Harcourt.
“She was freed along with one Paul Nyulaku, 39, who was himself kidnapped on Oct. 10 at NTA Road, Mgbuoba in Port Harcourt, and works for British High Commission, Abuja. “One of the kidnappers, Chinedu Chigbu, 39, who was keeping watch over the victims, was arrested, while another member was fatally wounded during exchange of gunfire,” Mukan said.
The police boss said the wounded suspected kidnapper was taken to a hospital, but was later pronounced dead. “Other members of the kidnap gang escaped into the bush with gunshot wounds during the raid, while their camp was immediately destroyed.
“Exhibits recovered from the kidnappers include, one AK-47 rifle, a fully loaded magazine and 100 rounds of live ammunition,” he said. According to Mukan, operatives are currently on the trail of other gang members, calling on residents of Etche communities to report anyone with gunshot wounds to the nearest police station.
Recounting her ordeal, Ajayi said the gunmen had raised her ransom from N50 million to N200 million as news of her kidnap went viral.
She said her abductors were on the verge of killing her when police operatives made the timely intervention and rescued her. Speaking at the command’s headquarters, the victim said: “They (abductors) took me on Sunday in front of my family members and later told me they had killed my family members. “I don’t know where they kept me.
They demanded a ransom of N50 million and later increased it to N200 million as everybody had reported that I was missing. “Some of the men were violent and kept beating me, while others kept saying that they will let me go if the ransom is paid.
“The kidnappers were planning to kill me, knowing that as the news went round, the pressure will be on them. “They were actually planning to move me into the swamp yesterday (Wednesday) night to kill me.”