Nigeria confirms rescue of 9 police officers kidnapped by gunmen

Men of the Nigerian Police force, during the Protest in Lagos, Nigeria , Nigeria against the Refusal Of Nigerian Government To Release Sowore. Members of Rights Activist on Tuesday, December 17, 2019, Protesting in Lagos, Nigeria against the Refusal Of Nigerian Government To Release Sowore. The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, granted bail to the convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Mr Omoyele Sowore, and co-defendant, Olawale Bakare. The court barred Sowore from travelling out of Abuja and the second defendant out of Osogbo, during the trial, She granted bail to Sowore in the sum of N100m with two sureties in like sum.(Photo by Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Men of the Nigerian Police force are seen in Lagos on Tuesday, December 17, 2019. (Photo by Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Nigerian authorities on Friday confirmed that nine senior police officers kidnapped earlier this month have been rescued unhurt following “a covert operation.”

The senior officers, all assistant superintendents of police, were kidnapped by gunmen on Nov. 8 between Kankara town and Sheme in Katsina state.

National police spokesperson Frank Mba said the officers were on official deployment and traveling in a commercial bus on their way from the capital of the northeastern state of Borno to the capital of the northwestern state of Zamfara, when the bandits attacked their bus and abducted them.

It is not clear when they were freed by colleagues, but Mba said the rescue went through “a covert operation” which “commenced immediately.”

Two of the officers are currently receiving medical attention in hospital, while the other seven are being debriefed, he said.

“Preliminary investigation has shown that the attack on the vehicle was an opportunistic crime as the officers were all traveling…unarmed and alongside other private citizens in the commercial vehicle,” the spokesperson added.

Several military operations are underway in the northwest region of Nigeria that has been wracked by years of violence.

Banditry, kidnapping, and other criminal activities remain rampant in the region.