Posted by News Express | 4 March 2020 | 1,137 times
By TONY OSAUZO, Benin
A vigilante group and police back-up on Tuesday night rescued four lecturers and 11 students of the Department of Geology the University of Benin from suspected kidnappers.
The lecturers and students were said to have been rounded up in Igarra, Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State while on fieldwork.
The victims were said to have boarded an 18-seater bus and were travelling along Ihievbe-Ago axis in Owan East local government area when they were swooped upon by the suspected kidnappers and marched into the forest.
It was gathered that in the process, the driver and two students escaped and ran to alert the vigilante group whose members were on patrol along the Igarra-Auchi Road.
They were said to have mobilised and given the kidnappers a hot chase amid an exchange of gunfire and in the process two of the suspected kidnappers were arrested.
The police were said to have given cover to the vigilante group; apparently having been overwhelmed, the suspected kidnappers were said to have abandoned their victims and run away.
Narrating the incident, the Chairman Opoze Age Group in Igarra who is also head of the vigilante group, Ibukun Dogo, said: “The driver of the 18-seater bus and two of the students escaped when the kidnappers rounded them up at gunpoint.
“They ran back to the highway where our group was patrolling and broke the news to the members. The vigilante contacted me and briefed me on the phone and I ordered that they should go after them while I quickly informed the police for back up.
“While my men were pursuing the kidnappers, they were shooting and so my men were retuning fire but we ran out of ammunition but we were able to apprehend two of the kidnappers and they were taken to the police station.
“The students who escaped were called to come and identify them and they were able to identify one of them as the people that kidnapped their colleagues; I also called our hunters because two weeks ago, they reported that they sighted about eight boys in the forest who shot at them and ran away and the hunters were also able to identify one of the kidnappers.
“We have handed them over to the police. Apparently, with the response from us and the back-up from the police, they abandoned the other victims and ran away,” the vigilante group leader said and appealed for support for proper kiting, saying they were doing the work on a voluntary basis.
The Public Relations Officer of the University, Dr (Mrs) Benedita Ehanire, while confirming the incident, said the school was expecting the team back after the rescue operation.
“The four lecturers and 13 students would have been back but the management insisted that there must be a police back-up for them before they travel back to school. They are all safe; they are on their way,” she said.
Also confirming the incident, spokesman for the Edo State police command, Chidi Nwabuzor, said a combined team of the police tactical squad, men from the Divisional Police Station in Igarra and Area Command were deployed by the Commissioner of Police, Lawal Jimeta to rescue the lecturers and students.
He added that arrested suspected kidnappers were being interrogated at the State Criminal Investigation Department. (Daily Sun)
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