Charles Nwoke, Benin, Nigeria
December 4, 2020
Image courtesy of local sources, fair use.
One person was confirmed dead on Thursday morning during a kidnapping incident that took place in Edo State.
According to the police report, many persons, mainly passengers, were eventually abducted by the unknown gunmen suspected to be kidnappers.
The police confirmed that the dead victim is a member of a vigilante group in the Urhokosa/Obagie area of the Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi Expressway where the kidnap incident happened. They explained that men of the vigilante group had confronted the kidnappers in a shootout.
The incident occurred on Thursday morning as the gunmen blocked the road distorting vehicular movement while operating.
It was gathered that the unidentified gunmen first attacked a commercial bus at the Urhokosa/Obagie end of the road and took a number of the travelers into their custody.
Martins Aibogun, one of the vehicle drivers plying the road who managed to escape the attack, revealed that a group of suspected kidnappers led the first set of the victims to the bush, while a second group forced the bus driver to use his vehicle to block the road.
He said, “There were two sets of armed kidnappers. I think they are coordinated in the way they operate. The security agencies must step up their tactics to address this problem that has become a daily occurrence.”
A trailer driver, who saw the blockade and suspected that it might be for the sinister operation of the men of the underworld, was said to have refused to stop and rammed his articulated vehicle into the blockade, killing two of the passengers, according to Mr. Aibogun.
Mr. Aibogun stated that other vehicles also ran into the traffic jam caused by the road blockade, adding that they were attacked by another group of kidnappers, who selected victims and marched them into the bush.
Chidi Nwabuzor, the Edo State Police Command Spokesman, confirmed the inferno.
“Yes, the command is aware of the kidnap, but we are yet to ascertain the number of passengers that were kidnapped. Unfortunately in the process, a member of one of the vigilante groups was killed during a gun duel with the kidnappers.
“The vigilante group in that community-engaged the kidnappers and one was killed. The effort is currently ongoing through bush-combing to free those kidnapped. Other information will be revealed as we progress,” said Nwabuzor.
When queried about the murder of the two passengers by a fleeing trailer driver, Mr. Nwabuzor said he is yet to be updated on that.
The Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi Road has been a den of armed robbery, kidnapping, and other criminal activities.
Mike Ozekhomhe, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, was some years ago abducted along that same road.
Urhokosa, Obagie, Ogbemudia Farm, Agbede, Aviele, and the boundary between Edo and Kogi state have over the years been a robbery and kidnapping locations.
Yesterday’s kidnap case in Edo adds to the sorry security situation all over the country, Nigeria with kidnapping for ransom by armed non-state actors now rampant across the country.