We are yet to ascertain the claims
By Ozioruva Aliu
THERE is increased tension in Edo State and particularly Edo Central Senatorial Districts as kidnappers laid siege to Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi Road Thursday and in the process took several passengers into captivity
Vanguard gathered that the gunmen first attacked a commercial bus at the Urhokosa/Obagie end of the road and took a number of the passengers into custody.
The suspected kidnappers got a group to lead the first set of the victims to the bush, while a second group caused the driver of the bus to use the vehicle to block the road.
It was gathered that a trailer driver, who saw the blockade and suspected foul play was said to have refused to stop and rammed his articulated vehicle into the blocked, killing two of the passengers.
Other vehicles that ran into the traffic jam, occasioned by the blockade, were attacked by another group of the kidnappers, who selected victims and marched them to join the earlier captured passengers.
A member of a vigilante group in the area who was said to have acted bravely by confronting the gunmen was reportedly shot dead by the kidnappers.
He said, “I spent over three hours in the bush and the kidnappers kept shooting continuously and there was no resistance from any security agency.”
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Chidi Nwabuzor, confirmed the development saying “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,” Mr Nwabuzor said.
On the killing of the two passengers by a fleeing trailer driver, Mr Nwabuzor said he had yet to be briefed on that.
Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi Road had been a den of robbers, kidnappers, and other criminal elements. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and constitutional lawyer cum human rights, Chief Mike Ozekhomhe, was some years kidnapped on that same route.
Flashpoints for robbery and kidnapping on the axis have over the years been Urhokosa, Obagie, Ogbemudia Farm, Okpella which is the boundary between Edo State and Kogi State.