Gunmen invade Edo community, kill 3, abduct 13 children, women


Protesters at the government house in Benin over the abduction of children and women by gunmen

By Jethro Ibileke

Heavily-armed gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen have reportedly invaded Emokpae community, in Ovia North-East Local Government Area of Edo State, where they killed three persons.

The invaders were said to have also hijacked a bus conveying 13 passengers, including school children and market women, and marched them into the forest.

The people of Emokpae community staged a peaceful protest to the State Government House in Benin on Friday.

Spokesman for the community who gave his name simply as Egua, told journalists that the 13 passengers were still being held captives by the gunmen.

Egua, who claimed to be the local leader of Edo State Security Network, disclosed that the kidnappers had contacted the family of a female hostage, demanding for a whopping N20 million ransom.

“Yesterday, as at 3 pm, when our children were returning from school from the neighbouring community, the herdsmen invaded the road, took our children, even the bike men that went to take them from the school, they were also kidnapped in the process.

“One minibus that was also taking passengers to the nearby community was stopped and the passengers were also kidnapped.

“As we speak, 15 persons have already been kidnapped and three of them are already killed by the herdsmen,” he said.

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Egua disclosed that they decided to take their protest to the government in Benin, following the successful mobilization of security agencies that rescued all the Igueben train station attack where about 20 passengers were kidnapped by suspected gunmen.

According to him, “We came to solicit the help of the government because we heard of the incident at Igueben where about 20 persons were kidnapped.

“The government mobilized all the security agencies in the state to free the hostages. The government should rise up and act fast in our community too.”

Another protester, 28-year-old Mrs. Esther Matthew, passionately pleaded with the state government to help rescue her husband from the hands of the kidnappers.

“I came here to plead with our governor to help me. They kidnapped my husband and my son. They killed my brother who went to rescue them. We have seen his corpse,” she wailed.

Also speaking, Mrs Gift Omoruyi, said her two children, aged 13 and 15 respectively, were kidnapped on their way home from school.

She said: “My two children were coming from school when they were kidnapped. The boy is 13 while the girl is 15.”

When contacted, the Edo State Police spokesman, DSP Chidi Nwabuzor, said he was yet to be briefed about the incident.

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