Gunmen Kidnap More than 30 Passengers, NRC Staff in Edo State
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No fewer than 30 passengers and staff of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) are believed to have been victims of late Saturday’s 7th-January-2023 kidnap by gunmen at the Igueben train sub-station in Edo State.
The Edo State Police Command Saturday night announced that scores of travellers waiting to board a train from Igueben in Igueben Local Government Area of the state to Warri in Delta State, were kidnapped by suspected herdsmen.
The command, in a press statement endorsed by its spokesman, Chidi Nwabuzor, at about 9.55pm, stated that the incident happened at about 4.00pm Saturday.
According to the statement, the suspected herdsmen, who were armed with AK 47 rifles, invaded the train station and shot sporadically into the air before herding unspecified number of intending travellers into the bush.
In the process, some of the passengers, the command added, sustained bullet wounds, just as it assured Nigerians that bush combing and rescue operations had begun.
Speaking on the development Sunday, the Liaison Officer to Igueben Local Government Area, Best Oseh, said security agencies and paramilitary organisations are combing the forests within in the area so as to rescue the victims and arrest of those behind the dastard act.
He said: “As I speak, people are in the field all over the place, vigilante, security agencies and other people. Everybody is concerned but we have to be careful with what we divulge so that we won’t jeopardize the processes of what we are doing.
“As for the category of people kidnapped, some of them are from Igueben, while others are passengers from other places and as for the number for now, we are looking at over 30 but we can only give comprehensive number when preliminary investigations are concluded.”
Also, a resident in the area, Mr. Odia Benson, said the abductors released two kids who were with them, while a woman reportedly escaped.
He said some staff of the NRC, including the station manager and ticket clerk, were among those abducted.
According to him, “The train normally arrives by 5 pm so as at about 20 minutes to that time, bandits just came through the bush path and invaded the place. They took away the station manager, took away the booking clerk and about 29 other passengers made up of males and females.
“As I speak with you, the Deputy Governor of the state, Philip Shaibu, left the place about an hour ago. The Commissioner of Police and his men are here, men the 4 Brigade Nigerian Army Commander are here, the Director of the Department of State Services (DSS) and some personnel and many paramilitary representatives are all here, including the DPO Igueben and his men, the Esan Akatakpa Security network. The hunters association have been in the forest since last night doing bush combing. We are hoping that by the end of today, the victims will be rescued.
“The railway station is surrounded by forest, and there is no security, no police, no vigilante and they are at the mercy of God. The station is in Igeueben town, just about 1.2 km away from Igueben General Hospital.
“I think only three of the victims are from Igueben; one of them is from Ward 8. We also had another who is married to an Igueben man but based in Warri while others are from Ekpoma, Uromi, Ubiaja, and elsewhere outside Edo State.
“The kidnappers released two children, it is believed that they felt the children will slow down their movements. They dropped them in an abandoned petrol station. They called the family of the mother of the children that they should go and pick the children from the place they dropped them. One woman also escaped with her little baby. The woman escaped and found herself in Opoji which in Esan Central Local Government Area.”