Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting
NO fewer than 30 train passengers have been kidnapped by suspected gunmen on Saturday evening at Igueben train station in Edo State.
This was disclosed by an official of Igueben Local Government Area of Edo State, on Sunday.
Recall that some suspected herdsmen kidnapped train passengers waiting to travel to Warri, Delta State, on Saturday evening.
The LGA Liaison Officer, Best Oseh, who spoke on the development, however, disclosed that efforts were on by security agencies to rescue the victims.
Oseh said the rescue team included the police, vigilante and other paramilitary organisations, who were combing the forest to rescue the kidnapped passengers from their abductors.
“As I speak, people are in the field all over the place, vigilante, security agencies and other people, everybody is concerned but we have to be careful with what we divulge so that we won’t jeopardize the processes we are doing.
“As for the category of people kidnapped, some of them are from Igueben while others are passengers from other places and as for the number for now we are looking at over 30 but we can only give comprehensive number when preliminary investigations are concluded”, Oseh said.
Also speaking on the development, a resident from the area, who identified himself as Comrade Odia Benson, said the abductors released two kids who were with them, while a woman reportedly escaped.
Odia listed the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) station manager and the ticket clerk as among those abducted.
“The train normally arrives by 5 pm so as at about 20 minutes to 5 pm, bandits just came through the bush part and invaded the place, they took away the station manager, took away the booking clerk and about 29 other passengers made up of males and females.
“As I speak with you, the Deputy Governor left the place about an hour ago, the Commissioner of Police and his men are here, the 4 Brigade Nigerian Army Commander is here, the Director of the Department of State Services (DSS) is here and many paramilitary representatives; the DPO Igueben and his men, the Esan Akatakpa Security network, the hunters association have been in the forest since last night doing bush combing.
“We are hoping that by the end of today, they will be rescued.
“The railway station is in the forest, there is no security, no police, no vigilante and they are at the mercy of God.
“The station is in Igueben town, just about 1.2 km away from Igueben General Hospital.
“I think about only three of the victims are from Igueben; one of them is from Ward 8, we had another who is married to an Igueben man but based in Warri while others are from Ekpoma, from Uromi, Ubiaja, some are not even from Edo State.
“The kidnappers released two children, it is believed that they felt the children will slow down their movements.
“They dropped them in an abandoned petrol station, they called the family of the mother of the children that they should go and pick the children from the place they dropped them.
“One woman also escaped with her little baby. The woman escaped and found herself in Opoji which is in Esan Central Local Government Area,” Odia noted.
Meanwhile, the Edo State government has, on Sunday, announced that one suspect had been arrested in connection with the Saturday evening adduction of train passengers at Igueben by suspected herdsmen.
Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, stated this at a press conference on Sunday.