A soldier who was observing Exercise Cat Race, three suspected kidnappers were killed yesterday in a gun battle during efforts by military officers to rescue a kidnapped victim.
The military men, who were on the Exercise Cat Race, had accompanied the victim’s family to deposit the demanded ransom to the kidnappers, along Okene-Ajaokuta checkpoint.
It was gathered that when the suspected kidnappers saw the man and the military men, they opened fire but were repelled by the soldiers; which led to the death of three of the suspected kidnappers, while the military official was fatally injured. Also, one of the suspected kidnappers was captured. The officer, who was said to have married recently, later died in the hospital.
The kidnap victim, an oil mogul, who is the Chief Executive, Always Petroleum and Gas, Alhaji Otinau Jimoh, was also shot on his arms before he could be rescued and is receiving treatment in a private hospital in Okene.
The oil mogul was kidnapped 10 days ago by gunmen at his country home in Okene, headquarters of Okene Local Government Area of Kogi State.
Items recovered from the kidnappers’ hideout include charms, guns and ammunition.
Exercise Cat Race was launched in Benue State last week by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, as a measure to check security situation in six states of the North Central.
Public Relations Officer of the Kogi Army Record, Captain Weri Finikumor, said the operation was ongoing, but refused to confirm the story. He, however, said he will only comment at the end of the exercise.