MGunmen, Edo Police Command described as “herdsmen” have attacked a train station in Edo State, Southern Nigeria, and kidnapped many passengers.
Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Chidi Nwabuzor, said the gunmen were armed with AK-47 rifles. He said the exact number of people kidnapped could not be ascertained.
Mr. Nwabuzor described the gunmen as ‘herdsmen’, loose bands of armed persons who used to rear cattle but have become full-fledged criminals, killing and kidnapping people at will across the country.
“This is to inform the gentlemen of the press that today, 7th of January, 2023 at about 1600hrs, an unspecified number of herdsmen armed with AK 47 rifles attacked the train station at Igueben, Edo State and kidnapped an unspecified number of passengers who were waiting to board the train to Warri.
“The kidnappers who shot sporadically into the air before kidnapping some passengers left some persons with bullet wounds. The Area Commander Irrua, DPO Igueben Division, and men have visited the scene of the crime with members of the Edo State Security Network, local vigilantes, and hunters with a view to protecting the lives and property of the remaining passengers.
“Bush combing operations have commenced in order to rescue the victims and arrest the fleeing kidnappers. Further developments will be communicated,” the spokesperson wrote in a statement.
The incident in Edo State occurs several months after gunmen attacked a moving train in Kaduna State, North-West Nigeria. Many of the kidnapped victims were later released after paying ransom to the kidnappers while others were released after negotiations between the government and the kidnappers.
The Edo incident is the first such attack on a train facility in Southern Nigeria. However, the state has witnessed other major criminal acts in the past including an attack on a prison during which dozens of inmates escaped.
The latest attack also occurs less than two months before the general elections in the country.