Posted by News Express | 12 January 2019 | 1,488 times
With a series of dramatic incidents, 2019 started on a high note for kidnappers, in spite of increased efforts of security operatives.
With kidnapping having reached alarming heights in 2018, and all seeming calm at the end of the year, just a few days into 2019, abductors have raised the tempo across states, taking hostage many in the process.
At least seven persons have been known to have been individually kidnapped, including Dr. Fashina and Pastor Onaade, David Jejelowo and a driver in Ekiti State and District Head of Zandam, Babangida Lawal and a businessman, Murtala Rabe, and an aide to Justice Mamman Nasir in Katsina State. Checks by Daily Trust Saturday showed that there are a number of cases which have not been reported to the police, at the orders of the kidnappers.
Unease returned to the busy Kaduna-Abuja highway over the upsurge of activities of gunmen, with recent reports of killings and kidnapping of commuters, passengers, drivers and other road users. Some drivers who ply the route regularly, informed of an incident a few days ago, when a passenger vehicle belonging to the Katsina State Transport Authority broke down along the Abuja-Kaduna highway, and just as another vehicle belonging to the same company stopped to assist, abductors emerged from the bush and picked most of the passengers.
However, the Managing Director of Katsina State Transport Authority, Haruna Musa, said the management was unaware of any of its buses missing, or having been attacked along the route.
According to Daily Trust, since January 1, incidents have resurfaced on the busy expressway. In fact, worried about the situation, the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Muhammed Abdulrrahman on Thursday undertook an inspection of parts the highway and a forest at Kasarami village to check, first hand, routes the kidnappers may be using.
Commercial vehicle drivers plying the route expressed worry over the situation. The Provost of Command Motor Park in Kaduna, Austin Alfred, confirmed to Daily Trust Saturday the return and spike of kidnappings, which have thrown commercial drivers into apprehension and uncertainty.
Alfred said a few days ago, gunmen stopped a bus and took with them 18 passengers on board apart from six other taxis they attacked, and abducted passengers for ransom. He said since the beginning of the year, about 60 people were kidnapped, explaining that on Tuesday at about 7pm two commercial vehicles and a private car were attacked. Daily Trust Saturday, however, could not confirm the number of victims.
A commercial driver, Usman Nura, said: “We’re worried about recent happenings, and I think drastic action should be taken before the situation gets worse. Even yesterday (Tuesday), my brother’s vehicle was attacked by gunmen on the highway, and in the process one of the passengers was shot, while two others were kidnapped.”
But the Kaduna State Police Command Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Yakubu Sabo, denied reports of an upsurge in criminal activities along the Kaduna-Abuja highway, even though he confirmed the Tuesday attack on commuters.
What would have been a high-profile abduction was however averted when kidnappers were unable to pick a former President of the Court of Appeal and District Head of Malumfashi in Katsina State, retired Justice Mamman Nasir. Travelling from Malumfashi to Katsina, the abductors abandoned the 90-year-old, who is also the Galadiman Katsina, as he could not walk. The kidappers then grabbed his aide, Aminu Sani, and are demanding a ransom of N50million.
DSP Sabo said the command was strategising and reviewing deployments to checkmate such incidents.
•Excerpted from a Daily Trust report
•Guns and ammunition recovered by troops, from Zwere armed militia in Ugya of Toto LGA of Nasarawa State.
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