Two days after the siege by bandits on the Abuja-Kaduna Highway, many people are still missing, Daily Trust reports.
The Sunday’s attack had claimed the life of a former Director of Protocol in the FCT and a 2019 gubernatorial aspirant in Zamfara State, Alhaji Sagir Hamidu, while many people could not be accounted for.
Minutes after the attack, security operatives, rescue officials and commuters met many vehicles empty at the scene while others veered off the road.
Daily Trust reports that it was the first major attack on the highway since September 14 when bandits attacked the road during which they killed a police officer and abducted the Emir of Bungudu in Zamfara State, Alhaji Hassan Atto, around Dutse village.
Ironically, the kidnappers returned to the highway on Monday after the Sunday’s attack and reportedly abducted many travellers.
Daily Nigerian said that the kidnappers returned to the highway at about 4.30 pm and opened fire on motorists.
It quoted sources saying the incident occurred less than five kilometres away from the point the assailants operated on Sunday.
Lawan Sani, a witness who plied the road immediately after the incident said he saw at least four abandoned vehicles with shattered windshields and flat tyres.
“There was serious commotion and panic around the area. Soldiers arrived at the scene almost immediately but the bandits briskly finished the operation within minutes and disappeared into the bush with many people.
“I saw an 18-seater bus belonging to Zamfara Mass Transit, a Toyota Yaris, a Volkswagen Golf and one other vehicle I could not remember the model. The vehicles were raided with bullets and without their occupants,” Lawan added.
Spokesman for the Kaduna State Police Command, Mohammed Jalige, could not be reached for comment at the time of filing this report.
Making reference to the two incidents in 24 hours, some locals and security experts said the only way to tackle the bandits was to have permanent surveillance along the road.
“We only see active surveillance by security operatives on the highway when a major attack was launched by the terrorists,” said Maikano Ali, a farmer at a village close to Rijana.
“And the operation lasts for just a few days…The security operatives would just disappear and you will only be seeing them from time to time,” he said.
Another villager who did not give his name said the bandits knew when best to attack.
“They take weeks moving on the road, joining other passengers in public transport just to monitor the situation until they are satisfied that the security operatives have relaxed patrol before they would strike,” he said.
Asked about the female soldiers deployed on the road, he said “They are not stationed in one place and you rarely see them also. Maybe they move in plain clothes but the truth is that we need a new approach.”
Credit: Daily Trust