Police clamps down on Yola terror gang, parades 65 members

The Police Command in Adamawa State has paraded 65 members of a gang of youths known in local parlance as Yan Shilla, or Shilla Boys, who have long been terrorizing the state capital, Yola, stealing money, phones and other valuables from residents and sometimes inflicting injuries on them.

Among the 65 are seven whose speciality is receiving the phones the boys steal and rendering such phones untraceable and thereby making it impossible for the police to track ad recover such phones for owners.

The state Commissioner of Police, Audu Madaki, who paraded the suspects at the police headquarters in Yola on Wednesday, clarified that the seven were among eight major receivers that investigations had indicated, and that the police would continue to hunt for the eight receiver still at large.

Among the paraded Shilla Boys, whom the Commissioner said were arrested in the last two weeks, were nine who launched an attack on a Keke NAPEP operator immediately after the state governor visited their hideout with security commanders on the 12th of this month, as well as the mastermind of a couple of Shilla Boys who earlier this year beat up and cut the left wrist of a youth over a girlfriend.

Recounting how the Shilla Boys “tested the might of authority,” the police commissioner said, “At about 1600 hours, one Yahaya James was attacked with cutlasses and robbed of his handset and money a few minutes after the departure of the executive governor of Adamawa State and service commanders who visited and inspected a criminal hideout along Doubeli bypass.”

Exhibits recovered from the Shilla Boys include 10 cutlasses, 18 knives, 17 pairs of scissors, 95 hand phones and accessories, nine computer laptops and accessories, 80 rounds of Indian hemp, and seven bottles of exzol/passion/diazeppam drugs.

Twenty-one other suspects were paraded with the charge of criminal conspiracy, kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms.

He credited all the arrests to “the joint collaboration with members of the vigilante, Miyetti Allah, as well as intelligence gathering from kidnappers.”

He said, “We have repentant kidnappers surrendering to security agencies in the state and have been supportive to the police in investigations. Even yesterday three of them surrendered and handed over their arms to the police.”

Items recovered from the suspected kidnappers were five AK47 rifles, 18 cartridges, and 276 rounds of live ammunition.

He told newsmen that in the course of interrogation, some of the kidnappers confessed buying their AK47 guns from Cameroon and transporting them on cow backs through bush routes into Nigeria to beat security checks at border checkpoints.

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