A retired police officer, a nursing mother and her baby, as well as two minors, have been rescued from among the 32 passengers abducted from Igueben train station, in Igueben Local Government Area of Edo State.
The victims were waiting to board a train to Warri in Delta State when they were abducted on Saturday afternoon by gunmen.
It was gathered that the victims were rescued by a combined team of security agents including the local vigilante and hunters. It was also learnt that one of the kidnappers was arrested by security operatives.
The spokesperson of Edo State Police Command, SP Chidi Nwanbuzor, who also confirmed the rescue of the victims, said it was made possible in collaboration with other security agencies.
“Among the rescued victims by the security operatives were a retired police officer, a lady with a one-year-old child, a boy and a girl of three and six years old respectively but the whereabouts of their parents is yet unknown,” he said.
He added that the police with other security agencies, including the Edo State Security Network, vigilantes and hunters are still combing the bush to rescue the victim unhurt and further arrest the perpetrators.
How station manager, passengers were abducted
It was gathered that the area where the incident took place is one of the flashpoints for criminal activities in the state.
According to reports, the abducted victims include the station manager, ticket clerk, head of security and other staff of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) as well as passengers waiting to board the train at 5pm.
The abductors, it was gathered, struck about 20 minutes before the time when the train was expected to pick up passengers and depart the station.
“This place (the train station) is in a bush. It is the station that has opened up the area. The abductors emerged from the bush, shooting sporadically before abducting their victims. There was no resistance because there is no security presence in the area. They took their time to march out their victims,” a resident of the area, Abilo Jeremiah, said.
Meanwhile, Edo State Commissioner for Communications and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, during a press briefing in Benin on Sunday, said that security operatives had arrested one of the suspected kidnappers.
“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.
“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 has been helping the police with the investigation to arrest other fleeing members of the kidnapping gang,” he said.
The attack came about nine months after bandits attacked an Abuja-Kaduna train, gunned down some passengers and abducted more than 60 others, who were later released.
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