By Dayo Johnson, Ugochukwu Alaribe & Ibrahim Hassan
SOKOTO—Six-two persons were, weekend, reportedly abducted by gunmen in Sokoto and Abia states after attending weddings of their loved ones. At least 50 persons were reportedly abducted by gunmen following an attack on vehicles along Sokoto-Gusau road.
Those abducted include telephone marketers at the popular Bebeji Plaza in Gusau, who were returning to Gusau after attending a wedding of their colleague in Sokoto State.The incident was said to have happened on Tureta-Bakura road around 6 pm on Saturday.
The vehicles conveying the wedding guests were a Toyota coaster bus belonging to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), a Gusau Local Government Secretariat staff vehicle and two other private vehicles.
Secretary of Union of Communication, Zamfara State, Ashiru Zurmi, while narrating the incident to newsmen in Gusau, yesterday, said one of the vehicles conveying the guests developed a fault at Tureta in Sokoto State and it was fixed by an automobile mechanic after about 40 minutes.
He said the bandits ambushed the vehicles after they repaired the faulty vehicle along the Tureta-Bakura road and over 50 persons were abducted.Zurmi noted that more than 20 persons later managed to escape, while some of them sustained injuries.He confirmed that 30 members are currently in captivity and the abductors have contacted the members of their union, confirming that they are with them.
He said: “We have identified 30 members that are still in captivity, luckily today (Sunday) they used the phones of those captives (about five of our members) to call us; they only notified us that they are with them.”
According to him, no ransom has been demanded yet by the banditsZurmi appealed to relevant authorities for urgent intervention and to ensure the safe return of the abductees.Lawal Ja’o, a passenger who escaped from the assailants’ raid, said the attack occurred around Dogon Awo, in Tureta LGA.According to him, “we started hearing the sounds of gunshots before the first vehicle was hit,” adding that over 50 people were whisked away.
“We kept hearing the voices and screams of our colleagues and friends but there was nothing we could do. After we heard the arrival of security men, we came out of the bush and identified ourselves.” Sanusi Abubakar, Police Public Relations Officer, in Sokoto, said the command was yet to receive information on the abductions.
Gunmen kidnap 12 on their way to wedding in Abia
Also in Abia State, the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna, said the reported abduction of 12 persons on their way to a traditional marriage ceremony at Okigwe, Imo State was yet to be reported to the Police.
It was gathered that gunmen suspected to be herdsmen reportedly attacked the victims travelling in a bus along the Umuahia-Okigwe section of the Port Harcourt-Enugu expressway last Saturday.
Sources told Vanguard that the victims, who hail from Ovom area of Obingwa council area, were on their way to the traditional marriage ceremony of their son when they were ambushed by the bandits.
After leading the victims into the bush, the bandits were said to have released some of the elderly women on the trip who returned to disclose the sad news to the community.
4 farmers abducted in Ondo, N16m ransom demanded
Meanwhile, four farmers were abducted at Elegbeka community near Ifon in Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State.Sources told newsmen in Akure that they were abducted, Saturday, on their way to Akoko area of the state.
Meantime, the abductors have opened a line of communication with the family of the victims, demanding N16 million ransom.Vanguard was informed that “there was an exchange of gunfire between hunters and some herders at Idogun in Irekari axis inside a forest in the borders of Ondo/Kogi/Edo states.
“The hunters were said to have been joined by their counterparts from Idoani, Ipesi and Ifira to search for the victims.Traditional rulers in the area who spoke with newsmen in confidence said: “The Owo terror attack has renewed calls for stakeholders to urgently find solutions to the problem of insecurity in Yoruba land.
“All hands must be on deck not only to win the battle but win the war against insecurity.
Contacted, the command’s image-maker, Funmi Odunlami, said she was yet to be briefed on the incident and pleaded for time.