…One woman with her little baby escaped and found herself in Opoji
…Deputy Gov. Philip Shaibu Visits Train Station
By Simeon OSAJIE
The Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Osa Nehikhare, has said that a combined team of the Military, the Police, men of the vigilante network and hunters are currently on the heels of the kidnappers that attacked the Igueben Train Station on Saturday and abducted 32 passengers of which one escaped.
Nehikhare who gave an update on efforts of the Edo State Government to rescue the kidnapped passengers in Benin on Sunday, said: “At the moment, security personnel made up of the military and the police as well as men of the vigilante network and hunters are intensifying search and rescue operations in reasonable radius to rescue the kidnap victims. As at 3pm Sunday, one suspect has been captured and is helping Police with their investigation.
“One victim out of the 32 people kidnapped escaped from the hands of the abductors. We are confident that the other victims will be rescued in the coming hours.”
The Commissioner also said that, “the Deputy Governor of the State, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu has visited the Igueben Train Station for an on-the-spot assessment of rescue efforts and to throw government’s weight behind the security operations.
“Edo State Government condoles with the families of the victims for this unfortunate occurrence.”
Nehikhare appealed for calm and urged citizens to assist security personnel with information of suspicious movements in and around their neighborhoods, particularly in the area where the rescue operation is taking place.
In a related development, an official of Igueben Local Government Area has revealed that over 30 persons train passengers at Ekeken Train Station waiting to travel to Warri, Delta State, were kidnapped on Saturday evening.
The LGA Liaison Officer, Best Oseh, who spoke on the development, disclosed that efforts were made by security agencies to rescue the victims.
Oseh said the rescue teams included the police, vigilante and other paramilitary organisations, who all were combing the bust to rescue the kidnapped passengers from their abductors.
According to Oseh, “As I speak, people are in the field all over the place, vigilante, security agencies and other people, everybody is concerned but we have to be careful with what we divulge so that we won’t jeopardize the processes we are doing.
“As for the category of people kidnapped, some of them are from Igueben while others are passengers from other places and as for the number for now we are looking at over 30 but we can only give comprehensive number when preliminary investigations are concluded.”
Also speaking on the development, a resident from the area, who identified himself as Comrade Odia Benson, said the abductors released two kids who were with them, while a woman reportedly escaped.
Odia listed the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) station manager and the ticket clerk as among those who were among those abducted.
According to Odia, “the train normally arrives by 5pm so as at about 20 minutes to 5 pm, bandits just came through the bush part and invaded the place, they took away the station manager, took away the booking clerk and about 29 other passengers made up of males and females.
“The railway station is in the forest, there is no security, no police, no vigilante and they are at the mercy of God. The station is in Igeueben town, just about 1.2 km away from Igueben General Hospital.
“I think about only three of the victims are from Igueben; one of them is from Ward 8,we had another who is married to an Igueben man but based in Warri while others are from Ekpoma, from Uromi, Ubiaja, some are not even from Edo State.
“The kidnappers released two children; it is believed that they felt the children will slow down their movements. They dropped them in an abandoned petrol station, they called the family of the mother of the children that they should go and pick the children from the place they dropped them.
“One woman also escaped with her little baby. The woman escaped and found herself in Opoji in Esan Central local government area.”