By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
More than twenty four hours after the kidnap of no fewer than twenty one road travellers at Kundu village along Zungeru – Tegina road of Rafi Council Area of Niger State, the fate of the kidnapped persons remains uncertain as no word has been heard from their abductors.
From the state government’s part, no word has further been heard beside the government’s earlier statement issued late afternoon on Sunday where it said that it was going after the abductors.
In the statement issued by the governor’s spokesperson, Mary Noel Berje, the governor, Abubakar Sani Bello condemned the kidnap of the travellers and described the incidence as sad.
Last Sunday, around 3:00 in the afternoon, a state owned commuter bus, (Niger State Transport Authority) carrying no fewer than twenty five passengers, mostly women who were returning to Minna, the state capital from a wedding in Rijau area of the state, were waylaid by gunmen who had blocked the road.
The big commuter bus, painted in white colour, was seized by the gunmen who ordered all the passengers including the vehicle’s driver to disembark from the vehicle as they matched them into the bush at gun point. The governor condemned the kidnappers as barbaric, even as the statement credited to him said the state government “will intensify efforts towards ensuring the safety of lives and property”.
The governor declared that his administration will not surrender to cowardly activities of heartless criminals operating as bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers who often swoop on innocent, unarmed civilians.
He assured that his administration will continue to utilize available resources and manpower to curb the menace of bandits and other criminal elements in the state.
The governor disclosed that adequate security personnel had been mobilized to go after the abductors. “No stone would be left unturned. I am supporting the security agencies to ensure maximum security on our roads and communities” he stated.
He appealed to families and loved ones of those kidnapped not to be downcast or loose faith as the state government in conjunction with security agencies was doing everything within its powers to rescue the victims. He however enlisted for prayers and understanding of all.
The governor solicited the cooperation of those with any useful information that could help in the location and rescue of the kidnapped victims to share the information with security agencies promptly.
One woman along with her child onboard the vehicle were the ones spared by the kidnappers.
Meanwhile, the police in Niger state have said the force was on the trail of the abductors and that four persons were taken from the scene of the incidence to help the police in its efforts at tracking down the armed bandits.