An 18-seater bus with19 occupants was ambushed on Thursday by kidnappers, who abducted the occupants of the vehicle, including the driver.
The incident occurred on Isiokpo-Elele Road in the Ikwerre Local Government Area, about 30 kilometres from Agip Junction in Port Harcourt, where the bus branded, Rivers Mass Transit Company, began its journey, Punch reported.
Naija News gathered that the kidnappers, 10 in number were heavily armed and barricaded the road, forcing the bus to halt as soon as it approached them.
It was gathered that the victims, travelling to Owerri, the Imo State capital, were marched into the bush by the kidnappers at about 8.30am.
A driver plying the route, Mr. Martins Aluziwe, said his bus was earlier attacked by the hoodlums, adding that he and the driver, whose bus was intercepted, loaded passengers into their vehicles almost at the same time at Agip and Whimpy junctions before moving out of the park at the same time, Punch reported.
Aluziwe added that soldiers at a checkpoint close to the scene of the incident had moved into the bush to ensure the rescue of the abducted persons.
According to Aluziwe, “What happened was that we were going to Owerri this morning (Thursday). On getting to Omuagwa, I met the driver of the hijacked vehicle, who was also travelling to Owerri. When we got to the bridge by Isiokpo Junction, armed men attacked us.
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“Because I was in the front, they only shot at my car; they could not stop me. The bullet did not hit anybody inside my vehicle, but the other bus was attacked and everybody, including the driver, were taken into the bush.
“Another driver informed me that soldiers had entered into the bush, but no information about the kidnapped victims yet. We are calling for more security personnel to rescue the people.”
Confirming the incident, the state Public Relations Officer, Mr. Nnamdi Omoni,said 12 persons among the kidnap victims had been rescued.
Omoni said, “It happened this morning (Thursady). Our men have rescued 12 persons. Efforts are on to get others rescued.”
Omoni explained that security operatives were still searching the bush in order to nab the hoodlums and rescue the remaining passengers.
Thursday’s abduction would be the third time in one month that passengers would be ambushed on the road by bandits.