Armed bandits have reportedly kidnapped over 100 people along the Birnin-Gwari-Kaduna highway in just four days.
In a report by Reuters, Surajo Usman, an official of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) reported that he escaped an abduction attempt which has claimed over 120 people in just four days.
"Over 120 people were kidnapped between Friday and today, Tuesday along the Birnin Gwari-Kaduna road," he said.
Yahaya Hussaini, who works for a civil society organisation, also reported that his group's motorcade was attacked on Sunday, May 13, by bandits armed with assault rifles.
He said, "On Sunday, in our entourage alone four vehicles were blocked by the kidnappers in military fatigue. They kidnapped about 48 people. Many of those vehicles attacked are still left on the road and the luggage of victims still litters it."
An unnamed NURTW official also told PRNigeria that most of the kidnapped victims were passengers travelling between North and Southern parts of the country and the organisation has warned its members to desist from using the road.
He said, "Over 15 vehicles including long trucks, buses and commercial cars were intercepted by the armed bandits who selected their victims from their look and dressing and herded them into the bush.
"We learn that the kidnappers have started communicating and negotiating with the families of their victims, demanding for ransoms in millions of Naira.
"A man and a woman were killed today while four additional passengers were also kidnapped.
"As an official of NURTW we have warned our members to henceforth stop plying the route until there is adequate security in the area."
Ibrahim Aliyu, the father of a kidnap victim, told Reuters that his daughter's kidnappers have already asked for a ransom of N5 million.
"They have contacted me with a 5 million naira ransom demand. Where do I get that kind of money that I have never seen in my life?"
Despite the severity of the attacks, Kaduna state's Commissioner of Police, Austin Iwar, told Reuters he has not been informed about such attacks but would investigate.
Birnin-Gwari troubled by bandits
The kidnapping attacks come just over a week when at least 71 people were killed when armed bandits attacked Gwaska village in Birnin Gwari local government area of Kaduna on Saturday, May 5, 2018. The bandits overpowered the local vigilante team which was defending the community.
That attack happened barely a week after 14 people were also killed by armed bandits at a mining site at Janruwa in the same LGA and barely two days after the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, and the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Mohammed Mohammed, visited Birnin Gwari.
After the Gwaska attack, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the establishment of a permanent Battalion of the Nigerian Army in the Birnin Gwari general area.
The creation of a Birnin Gwari Police Area Command and two new Divisional Police Headquarters were also announced by IGP Idris.