No fewer than 30 passengers have been reportedly abducted by gunmen at Konar Barau village in the Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.
It was reported that the passengers were abducted when gunmen waylaid three vehicles comprising one 18-seater bus and two other vehicles.
Eyewitnesses said the gunmen, suspected to be bandits, in large numbers and with weapons, stormed Zungeru Garun Gabas highway, shooting sporadically to scare villagers before kidnapping the passengers.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Monday Kuryas, confirmed the abduction of 13 passengers in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.
Kuryas said around 3.30pm, the Zungeru Divisional Police Officer reported that one Mubarak Idris of Kwanawa village, Sokoto State, who was the driver of the 18-seater bus, lodged a complaint at the station.
According to the CP, the driver said his vehicle, loaded with 18 passengers from Yauwuri, Kebbi State, mostly fishermen, was heading for Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on fishing activities.
He said Idris reported that on getting to a sharp bend in Konar Barau along the Tegina-Minna Road, suspected bandits in military uniform kidnapped 13 of his passengers and his motor boy.
He said the gunmen also dispossessed the driver of about N131,500.
The commissioner said an “aggressive manhunt” for the hoodlums had commenced, as he solicited the support of residents, especially those in the rural areas.
“We appeal to residents to volunteer reliable information that could aid in apprehending miscreants in the state.
“We are doing everything humanly possible to ensure the protection of lives and property in our area of supervision.
“All we require from residents is vital intelligence information that could aid the security personnel deployed across the state on the movement of dubious characters in their midst for necessary security action,” he added.