• News - South South - Rivers
  • Updated: February 20, 2024

Rivers: Serial Kidnapper '2Baba' feared killed in joint military operations

Rivers: Serial Kidnapper '2Baba' feared killed in joint mili

Joint task force

A joint operation involving military, paramilitary, and police personnel may have killed Gift Okpara, popularly referred to as "2Baba," a suspected serial kidnapper linked to multiple abductions in Rivers and neighbouring areas. 

The Rivers government had declared Okpara wanted and offered a ₦100 million bounty for his capture. 

Okpara allegedly was targeted and maybe killed during an airstrike on his camp by the Nigerian Air Force. 

SP Grace Iringe-Koko, the Rivers State Police Command's spokesman, confirmed the development in a statement made in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

Gift Okpara, popularly referred to as "2Baba,

She stated that the police, army, navy, air force, Department of State Security (DSS), and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) all participated in the combined operation.

Iringe-Koko reported that on September 8, the gang mercilessly murdered Ahoada Division's Divisional Police Officer, SP Angbashim Bako, as well as several other state residents.

“After the murder of Bako, a viral video showing the brutal murder and brazen display of weapons being shared by 2Baba and his gang, who are members of the Iceland secret cult.

“2Baba and his associates also murdered five innocent individuals—Charles Osu, Ogbobula Eja, Idaowukwa Felix, Paul Victor, and Achiniyu Edi—suspecting them of collaborating with the police to apprehend the gang.

“As a result, upon assumption as Commissioner of Police in Rivers, Mr  Olatunji Disu visited the  Ahoada Local Government Area, and urged officers to intensify efforts in capturing the perpetrators,” she said.

Iringe-Koko stated that shortly after the operational tour, Disu launched a unique combined operation with police tactical units and the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) to catch the deadly gang.

“The operation resulted in the arrest and prosecution of more than 70 suspects who are linked to the murder of SP Bako.

“Despite extensive efforts, 2Baba and his gang managed to evade capture by retreating deeper into the forest, leveraging the difficult terrain and strategically positioning informants to monitor security forces’ movements.

“Undeterred, the police formed specialised teams, coordinating with the army, navy, air force, DSS and NSCDC in joint security meetings, and reinforced their united pursuit for justice,” Iring-Koko explained.

The police spokesperson recounted the events and arrests that led up to 2Baba's death.

According to her, the operation began on November 29 with the arrest of a female associate of 2Baba, who provided valuable information about the fugitive's lifestyle.

“On Dec. 3, information indicated that 2Baba frequented a nearby community via canoe. Despite a two-week surveillance to ambush him, he abruptly ceased visits, seemingly aware of our operation.

“On Dec. 6, 2Baba’s executioner, Faithful Joseph, who was seen wielding an AK47 in a viral gang video, was arrested at his Etche local government area hideout but succumbed from gunshot wounds sustained during his failed escape attempt.

“On Dec. 13, another female associate of 2Baba was apprehended, and on Dec. 15, an assault was launched on his camp but he escaped. Subsequently, his camp was destroyed, prompting him to relocate,” she added.

Iringe-Koko added that operators eventually caught a medical nurse who reportedly provided information to 2Baba, culminating in the deaths of five people mistaken for police informants.

She accused the nurse of supplying the gang with food, water, and drugs, as well as sharing information on police operations against the group.

According to her, another multi-agency strike was launched on 2Baba's new location on December 31, but the operation failed to catch him.

“To this end, on Jan. 19, operatives successfully deployed advanced technology, revolutionising their approach in the operation, leading to the gathering of crucial intelligence.

“On Feb. 10, the command shared information with the air force, and at about 7:30 p.m., the air force executed an aerial assault, causing significant casualties and injuries to 2Baba and his gang.

“But on Feb. 17 at about 12 p.m., the gang attacked Okogbe Town and Odiokwu community, destroying several pipelines.

“On the same day, a raid on 2Baba’s new camp ensued, and despite a fierce gun battle, the gang members escaped but intelligence later confirmed 2Baba’s death.

“Efforts are ongoing to retrieve the body of the infamous killer, while investigations into the Iceland cult’s activities in the region continues,” she stated.

According to the police image maker, the equipment discovered from 2Baba's camp included an Ak47 rifle, a G3 rifle, a scorpion rifle, a double barrel locally produced gun, and two locally made pistols.

“Also found were one-cut-to-size double barreled gun, a bullet proof vest, thirteen pieces of dynamite, five rounds of .9mm live ammunition, army camouflage, assorted charms, a human skull and a jackknife

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