By Ibe Pascal, Owerri with agency report
The spate of kidnapping across the country is showing no sign of abating as armed bandits have again abducted no fewer than 50 wedding guests travelling along the Sokoto-Zamfara road.
The development has again sent panic across the country as another 15 youths were abducted in Ekwe community in Isu local government area of Imo State by gunmen
In Sokoto, it was gathered that those abducted include Telephone Marketers at the popular Bebeji Plaza in Gusau.
They were returning to Gusau after attending a wedding of their colleague in Sokoto State when the incident happened between 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 on Sunday 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 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 various degrees of injuries.
“It happened that their motor developed fault at Tureta and they got a mechanic; for about 40 minutes, he assisted them and got the motor repaired; they started coming to Zamfara but within the Tureta and Bakura axis, the kidnappers ambushed them; over 50 people were abducted but Alhamdulilah over 20 people escaped,” Zurmi said.
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.
“We have identified thirty members that are still in captivity, luckily today they used 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 bandits
The Secretary of the Union also suspected the involvement of informants which he said might have informed the kidnappers about their movement.
“Definitely something like that happened; we have that in our minds that there was an informant that gave the information to the bandits to attack them because it was just only them, other passenger cars were passing but they did not care about them, they only concentrated on the coaster bus that has Zamfara Government number.”
Police Authorities in Sokoto State are yet to confirm the incident.
In Imo, there is tension in Ekwe community in Isu local government area of Imo State after masked gunmen suspected to be operatives of Ebubeagu Security Outfit invaded the community and abducted 15 male youths.
The gunmen also invaded the palace of the traditional ruler, Eze Nicholas Ibekwe and ordered everyone to lie down while they fired gunshots.
An indigene of Ekwe community, Princewill said the gunmen arrested 15 young men who were excavating sand at the Njaba River.
He said; “This morning, some masked gunmen invaded our community, Ekwe through Amucha, and arrested some young men who were excavating sand at Njaba River. Then, they went into the community shooting sporadically leading to people running helter-skelter.
Some ran into the surrounding bush to escape arrest. The gunmen were arresting only male young men. They ignored girls and women as well as elderly men.
“They also stormed the palace of our traditional ruler, Eze Nicholas Ibekwe, and commanded everyone to lie down and fired about 20 gunshots into the air. They didn’t kill anybody but some people sustained gunshot injuries”, he said.
The traditional ruler of the community, Eze Nicholas Ibekwe, confirmed the development via telephone.
According to him, one of the gunmen who spoke Hausa language alleged that the community was training criminals.
When contacted, Imo police spokesperson, Mike Abattam’s line wasn’t reachable as at press time.