March 23, 2024

Gunmen abduct 10 travellers in Benue

Gunmen abduct 10 travellers in Benue


By Peter Duru, Makurdi

No fewer than 10 occupants of a commercial bus travelling from Wukari in Taraba State to Gboko in Benue State have been ambushed and kidnapped by unknown armed men in Jootar, Ukum, Local Government Area, LGA, of the state.

The passengers, who were suspected to be artisans heading to Akure, the Ondo state capital, in a Sharon bus, were said to have been driven into one of the forests in Jootar after the abductors forced the driver out of the bus at gunpoint.

According to a source who claimed to be an acquaintance of the driver of the ill-fated vehicle who spoke on condition of anonymity, he received a call from the driver who informed him of the development shortly after the incident occurred Friday afternoon.

He said: “The driver called me that his vehicle, a Sharon bus, was stopped by heavily armed gunmen; they took his bus, abandoned him, and drove the vehicle into the bush with 10 persons who looked like artisans who were supposed to drop off in Gboko.

“He said they took his phone. He had to use somebody’s phone to call me as soon as the incident happened. He is somebody I know very well. The incident happened around 12 midday on Friday, that is what he told me.

“He said he picked up the passengers from Takum Junction, Wukari, in Taraba State, and that the incident happened just two kilometres from there in Jootar, Ukum LGA. And that he was supposed to drop them in Gboko as they were en route to Akure in Ondo State.”

Reacting, the lawmaker representing Ukum State Constituency, Ezra Nyiyongo, confirmed the incident.

He said, “I was told that a vehicle was intercepted. According to what I heard since I am not the one who spoke with the driver, he said he picked those people from Wukari, Taraba State, and not in any school and was conveying them to Gboko.

“According to him, from Gboko they were going to Akure for menial jobs; I am not quite sure. I am just reporting on the driver’s words. They were intercepted in Jootar, Ukum LGA.”

The Ukum Local Government Caretaker Chairman, Victor Iorzaa, said he was yet to be briefed on the matter.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent, SP, Catherine Anene, said she had not received any report on the incident.