By John Shiklam
The Kaduna State Government has said that two people were killed, while nine others, who were abducted following an attack by bandits along the Kaduna – Abuja road on Sunday, were rescued.
In a statement on Monday in Kaduna, the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said the nine people abducted were rescued on Sunday by troops on internal security operations.
The government’s statement came following reports that 15 people were killed, while several others were abducted by bandits along the dreaded Kaduna-Abuja road Sunday afternoon.
According to reports, the bandits opened fire on vehicles plying the road before blocking it and forcing several vehicles to stop.
However, Aruwan said the nine people who were abducted during the incident were rescued.
He said the driver of a vehicle and a passenger seated beside the driver were killed during the attack.
Aruwan said the Kaduna State Government received operational feedback from the Defence Headquarters’ Operation Thunder Strike (OPTS) following the incident and inquiries from citizens on the development.
He said: “The feedback goes thus: Troops of the Operation Thunder Strike on a routine patrol along Akilubu-Gidan Busa axis on the Kaduna-Abuja road, received a distress call at around 4pm of bandits blocking the main highway.
“The armed bandits opened fire on a bus, forcing the driver to halt.
“On getting to the location, the armed bandits had already kidnapped nine persons from an 18-seater bus with registration No. Kaduna: MKA-151.
“The troops immediately mobilized and engaged the bandits in a firefight and in the process rescued nine persons kidnapped who later rejoined their colleagues after their rescue and a head count.
“Regrettably, the driver and a passenger seated close to him lost their lives.
“The Kaduna State Government sends its condolences to their families and prays for God to grant them eternal rest.
“Following this summary from the military, the government assures citizens and commuters plying the route that any emerging developments regarding the unfortunate incident will be communicated.”
Aruwan assured the people that the state government “will continue to work hard in collaboration with the federal government to improve the security of the highway”.
He added that the state government is also working with the governments of Zamfara, Katsina, Niger, Nasarawa, Plateau, Sokoto and Kano States, as well as the military, police, DSS and relevant stakeholders on enhancing the security situation in the region.
On Saturday, at about 8pm, bandits invaded the staff quarters of the state government-owned Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic, Zaria, and abducted a lecturer and his neighbour’s two children.
The spokesman of the Kaduna State Lolice Command, Mohammed Jalige, said he was in a meeting, when he was asked to respond to the attack.