… Suspect Nabbed
Soldiers, police personnel and vigilantes are currently tracking the abductors of no fewer than 31 train passengers who were whisked away from the Tom Ikimi Train Station, Igueben, Edo State, on Saturday.
Among the victims are the Manager of the station, Godwin Okpe and head of security of the station, simply identified as Ikhayere and 29 passengers.
The incident is coming 10 months after bandits attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train service, killing 14 passengers and abducting 65 others. They were released after spending months in captivity and paying ransoms.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive of Nigeria Railway Corporation, Fidel Okhiria confirmed on Sunday that security agencies were on the trail of the abductors believed to be armed herdsmen.
He said, “The police, vigilante and Army are all after the people in the bush; that’s all I can say. There are certain things that we need to clear before we issue a statement.”
The Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, also affirmed that efforts were ongoing to rescue the abductees.
“We will give necessary support to Edo State Police command and Railway Police Command on the rescue of the abducted victims; efforts are being intensified to rescue them and arrest the culprits,’’ he assured.
When asked about the nature of support being given to the state command, Adejobi simply stated, ‘’Support is support. It’s a security matter’’ and declined further comment.
The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, has also dispatched police special squads, including the Intelligence Response Team and Anti-Terrorism Squad to Edo State to rescue the victims.
The squads, it was gathered, would complement the efforts of the police in the state.
“The IRT and the anti-terrorism squad to Edo from Force headquarters. But the security agencies should have taken pre-emptive measures by deploying armed agents around the stations.
“There are communities around the area who can also give information to the security agencies. Though the area is forested, it is not that thick.
‘’They (security agencies) should liaise with the community and vigilantes for information on the kidnappers. There was a time I complained about that station when I was going to Warri. It is a bit lonely and isolated; it is not by the roadside. I don’t know why they didn’t take note of that fact. I saw a few policemen but they were not enough.
‘’They should have posted at least 10 policemen to guard that station. I know they have closed the terminal at Ayangba road; they are using the one at Itakpe. They should have taken note of the incident that led to the shutdown of the terminal at Ajaokuta.’’
Two children aged between two and five, whose parents were believed to have been abducted, were in the custody of the Police Headquarters in Agbor, Delta State.
One Passenger escapes, One Suspect Arrested
The Edo State Commissioner for Communications and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, has said security operatives have arrested one of the suspected kidnappers involved in the kidnapping of 32 passengers at the Igueben train station, in Igueben Local Government Area of Edo State.
The commissioner disclosed this during a press briefing in Benin City, adding that one out of the 32 persons who were attacked at the train station had escaped from the kidnappers.
He said, “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.”
Nehikhare noted, “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 had been helping the police with investigation to arrest other fleeing members of the kidnapping gang.
“We congratulate the Police and other security agencies for their swiftness in attending to the security brief. We appreciate the local hunters and members of the Edo State Security Network as their collaboration assisted in this operation. This synergy led to the success recorded in a very short time.”
“We hope this is the last time we will have such an attack on government infrastructure, especially train stations here in Edo State. Our security network was swift to react to the incident and we condole the families of the victims. We will give necessary support to security agencies, vigilantes and local hunters who are on the trail of these kidnappers,” he added.
Most of the victims, it was learnt, were from the South-South and South-East.
The Itakpe-Warri train is the only train service for passengers going to the South-East and South-South.
Passengers going to Benin, Warri, Agbor, Asaba, Port Harcourt, Yenagoa and Aba are known to patronise the train service.Follow us on social media