*More Than 30 Passengers, NRC Staff In Edo, Say Police
*Deputy Gov Visits Train Station
*Security Agencies, Vigilante, Local Hunters Comb Bushes
The Edo State Commissioner for Communications and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, has said security operatives have arrested one of the suspected kidnappers involved in the kidnapping of 32 passengers at the Igueben train station, in Igueben Local Government Area of Edo State.
The commissioner disclosed this during a press briefing in Benin City, adding that one out of the 32 persons who were attacked at the train station had escaped from the kidnappers.
He said, “After 32 persons were kidnapped, the Police, vigilante, and local hunters swung into action, combing the bushes around the vicinity. One of the kidnapped victims was able to escape.”
Nehikhare noted, “The Edo State deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, has visited the scene of the attack for on-the-spot assessment and was told that one of the suspects was arrested and he had been helping the police with investigation to arrest other fleeing members of the kidnapping gang.
“We congratulate the Police and other security agencies for their swiftness in attending to the security brief. We appreciate the local hunters and members of the Edo State Security Network as their collaboration assisted in this operation. This synergy led to the success recorded in a very short time.”
“We hope this is the last time we will have such an attack on government infrastructure, especially train stations here in Edo State. Our security network was swift to react to the incident and we condole the families of the victims. We will give necessary support to the security agencies, vigilantes and local hunters who are on the trail of these kidnappers,” he added.
Meanwhile, No fewer than 30 passenger and staff of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) are believed to have been victims of late Saturday’s kidnap by gunmen at the Igueben train sub-station in Edo State.
Speaking on the development Sunday, the Liaison Officer to Igueben Local Government Area, Best Oseh, said security agencies and paramilitary organisations are combing the forests within in the area so as to rescue the victims and arrest of those behind the dastard act.
He said: “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 of what 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.”
Also, a resident in the area, Mr. Odia Benson, said the abductors released two kids who were with them, while a woman reportedly escaped.
He said some staff of the NRC, including the station manager and ticket clerk, were among those abducted.
According to him, “The train normally arrives by 5 pm so as at about 20 minutes to that time, bandits just came through the bush path 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 of the state, Philip Shaibu, left the place about an hour ago. The Commissioner of Police and his men are here, men the 4 Brigade Nigerian Army Commander are here, the Director of the Department of State Services (DSS) and some personnel and many paramilitary representatives are all here, including 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, the victims will be rescued.
“The railway station is surrounded by forest, and 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 only three of the victims are from Igueben; one of them is from Ward 8. We also had another who is married to an Igueben man but based in Warri while others are from Ekpoma, Uromi, Ubiaja, and elsewhere outside 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 in Esan Central Local Government Area.”
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