By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
There are still conflicting figures on the exact number of persons abducted by armed bandits along Kundu – Garin Gabas – Zugeru road last Sunday even as the management of the state owned mass transit buses, the Niger State Transport Authority, (NSTA) keeps sealed lips about the incident.
Two of it’s staff, the driver of the bus and his conductor were amongst those abducted by the armed bandits. The bus is supposed to have a passengers’ manifest at every take off point. The document states the names, address, destination and other details of those who boarded a vehicle.
The state government had on Sunday said eighteen persons were believed to have been in the bus which was accosted by the armed bandits. But since then, there have conflicting figures from family of the victims and the survivor.
A woman who was among those abducted said she fell and passed out while they were being led away by the bandits. She was abandoned there by the bandits.
The woman confirmed that there were about sixty persons onboard the ill fated bus.
Our correspondent gathered however that the big commuter bus is a 56 seats capacity. The bus had taken off from Kontagora with the passengers who had come from Rijau enroute Kontagora to Minna.
In her narration, the woman whose name and identity is protected, said as the bus arrived at Zungeru junction, she overheard some road users alert the driver about the presence of armed bandits along Garin Gabas – Zungeru axis.
She said the driver did not heed to the alert. As the bus approached the spot, the bandits opened fire on the bus and forced it to stop.
They forced their way into the vehicle and ordered every passenger to bring out his/her money. A man amongst the passengers was shot on the head while the bus conductor was shot on his back before the bandits marched all of them out to the bush.
As at Tuesday, the state through the Secretary to the State Government, (SSG) Ahmed Ibrahim Matane said the government was not yet sure of the exact number of persons abducted. Most of those kidnapped from the bus were women with only a few men.