The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) yesterday arrested 15 suspects in connection with the fracas at Dei-Dei International Market last week, after it raided the forests around Jiwa forests and its environs.

The raid was authorised by Sarkin Jiwa, Alhaji Idris Musa on the information that the forest was serving as hideout for criminal elements, who were alleged to be disturbing the peace of the communities.

The Jiwa forests is a notorious hideout said to be used by criminals to unleash mayhem on innocent people in the area.

The Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to FCT Minister, Ikharo Attah, said the operation was necessitated by public outcry against the activities of scavengers, popularly known as Baban Bolas.

He said apart from some of the residents who confirmed the involvement of the scavengers in the Dei-Dei crisis, the security agencies had also linked a lot of the crimes to them.

He decried the freedom enjoyed by the scavengers, who are often found to be moving around with dangerous weapons and attacking innocent residents.

He said the operation would be extended to other places harbouring these urchins, to guarantee maximum safety and security for all residents.

Attah added that FCTA had no plans to stop legitimate business of waste collection and recycling, apart from the responsibility to tackle the crimes and criminals operating under whatever guise.

“We got intensive complaints about insecurity around Jiwa axis and communities that have come under attacks by people believed to be baban bolas. This area is also notorious as it was the place where two police officers were ambushed and their rifles were also taken away, before they were later recovered.

“This is why we have to come out today under the directives of the FCT Minister, to clean all the dangerous forests where these people are taking shelter and wreaking havoc on the residents. We have arrested over 15 persons.

“Waste collection and recycling is not a crime, but the crimes associated with Baban Bolas is what we will not fold our hands and watch,” he noted.

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