Nigeria: Unprecedented Abduction on Otukpo-Enugu Road: Gunmen Seize 45 Passengers, Demand Ransom

Nigeria: Unprecedented Abduction on Otukpo-Enugu Road: Gunmen Seize 45 Passengers, Demand Ransom

By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria

In a brazen attack on transporters along the Otukpo-Enugu Road, approximately 45 passengers were reportedly kidnapped by armed men in Orokam, situated in the Ogbadigbo Local Government Area of Benue state. The incident, occurring at about 3:30 pm on Thursday, unfolded as armed assailants ambushed three fully loaded 15-seater commercial buses, demanding a staggering N15 million ransom for each captive.

According to an eyewitness and a driver from one of the commercial transportation companies in Makurdi, the gunmen emerged from the nearby forests in Orokam, taking advantage of the deteriorated state of the road to halt the targeted vehicles. The first attacker, described as a heavily built young man armed with an automatic rifle and bullets, initiated the assault, forcing drivers to stop at gunpoint.

The eyewitness shared his harrowing experience, stating, “Their target was obviously commercial buses, maybe because of the number of passengers that could harvest ransom for them. In this particular instance, they took passengers in three-loaded buses that were heading toward Otukpo.” He recounted his narrow escape, as he and his passengers fled into the bush, leaving behind valuables that the assailants chose not to touch.

Upon regaining safety, the eyewitness witnessed soldiers on motorbikes and a hilux van inquiring about the armed men’s whereabouts and the victims they had taken. The incident occurred between a police and army checkpoint in Orokam, highlighting the audacity of the attackers in a region already grappling with security challenges.

It has been revealed that negotiations have begun between the armed kidnappers and family members of the abducted passengers for their release. Initially demanding N15 million for each passenger, the kidnappers reportedly settled for N3 million per captive after negotiations. However, communication was abruptly cut off during the negotiation process, leaving families in distress.

A manager from a commercial transportation company at Wurumum Park disclosed that some family members had sought information from the park, assuming that the buses involved belonged to their companies. The armed men appear to be moving between parks to identify the companies associated with the unfortunate incident.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent Catherine Anene, stated, “I don’t have that report yet,” indicating that investigations are ongoing.

The shocking incident underscores the escalating security concerns on major transportation routes, posing a significant challenge to authorities tasked with safeguarding citizens and ensuring the free movement of people across the country.

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