The late-Saturday kidnapping by gunmen at the Igueben train sub-station in Edo State is thought to have involved around thirty passengers and employees of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).
Security agencies and paramilitary groups are searching the local woodlands for clues, according to Best Oseh, liaison officer to the local government area, who spoke to Vanguard yesterday about the situation.
He said “As I speak, people are in the field all over the place, vigilantes, 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 a comprehensive number when preliminary investigations are concluded.”
Giving further details on the event, Comrade Odia Benson, a local, said the kidnappers freed the two children they had with them while a woman is said to have managed to flee.
He claimed that some NRC employees, including the station manager and ticket agent, were kidnapped.
He said, “The train normally arrives by 5 pm so as at about 20 minutes to 5, 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 Igeueben 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 off at an abandoned petrol station. They called the family of the mother of the children saying that they should go and pick up the children from the place they dropped them off. One woman also escaped with her little baby. The woman escaped and found herself in Opoji which is in the Esan Central local government area.”