Gunmen abduct travellers in Abia

14:27 Jul 25 2022 Abia state

Gunmen, suspected to be kidnappers, have abducted some travellers in Lokpanta, a community in the Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State, Nigeria’s South-east.

The incident happened at about 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the victims — who were travelling in a Toyota Corolla car –– were attacked by the gunmen operating on two motorcycles.

A witness, Emeka Nnuta, told PREMIUM TIMES the gunmen double-crossed the victims’ car with the motorcycles and forcefully led them into a nearby bush.

“They were all forced into the bush. People said that has been the style used by the gunmen to abduct their victims in the area,” he said.

Mr Nnuta, who was travelling to Enugu State, said the attack happened close to a military checkpoint in the area, but some soldiers on duty could not rescue the victims.

“After the gunmen forced the people into the bush, the soldiers just came to the entrance of the bush, looked around there and continued controlling traffic,” Mr Nnuta stated.

Another witness, who asked not to be named, told this newspaper that the victims were on their way to Enugu State when the incident happened.

She said the victims’ vehicle plunged into a nearby bush when the driver was attempting to speed off to avoid the gunmen.

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“I don’t know exactly how many people were in the vehicle, but they forced all of them inside the bush,” she said.

“The four doors of the vehicle were all open, meaning that there were at least four people inside the vehicle. The gunmen led the people into the bush with their two motorcycles,” she added.

When contacted, the police spokesperson in Abia State, Geoffrey Ogbonna, said he was not aware of the incident.

Increased kidnap attacks
Kidnapping for ransom has increased in Abia State in recent times.

The latest incident occurred about one month after gunmen abducted a journalist in Umuahia, the state capital.

The journalist was released about five days later, after N10 million ransom was reportedly paid to the gunmen.

Last month, Uwadinachi Iweha, a medical doctor and the provost of Gregory University College of Medicine, Umuahia Campus, was also abducted.

He was whisked away while driving out of his residence at Umuajameze Ezeleke Umuopara in the Umuahia South Council Area of the state.

Mr Iweha is yet to be freed, more than one month after his abduction.

In May, Samuel Kanu-Uche, the Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, was kidnapped alongside two other priests, while they were returning from a programme in Umunneochi Local Government Area of the state.

The clerics were released about two days later N100 million was reportedly paid to the kidnappers.
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