Friday, 7 July 2017

14 Passengers Kidnapped In Portharcourt, N14m Ransom Demanded


14 passengers travelling from Warri in Delta State to Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, through one of the popular transport companies (name withheld) have been allegedly kidnapped by gunmen at the Rumoji near Port-Harcourt in Rivers State.

The incident which security sources told our correspondent occurred on Monday has led to serious apprehension among residents living in communities situated along the highway as the hoodlums continue to lay siege to the passengers including the bus driver.

It was gathered that the arms wielding bandits waylaid the bus and dragged all occupants into a nearby bush from where they were whisked to an unknown destination.

According to PUNCH, the hoodlums who had contacted the family of the victims are demanding one million naira on each of the passengers before they could be released.

A source at the travelling company while confirming the incident said the gunmen had reduced the ransom to N100, 000 each for the travellers after the victims’ families told them they cannot raise the one million naira ransom the abductors were earlier demanding.

Giving details of the incident, one of the security sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “The 14-seater bus was travelling to Port-Harcourt when heavily armed men waylaid the bus and kidnapped all occupants including the driver. They were travelling from one of their terminals in Warri axis.

“The incident happened on Monday and the bus is owned by one of these popular transport companies. It was a bit unbelievable until our sister security agency recovered the bus from where the incident happened around Ughelli/Port-Harcourt section of the road. The hoodlums have also contacted the families of the victim. Security has been beefed in the area.”

Another security source added, “Though the hoodlums are in contact with the bus company and have reduced the ransom for the release of the driver and the passengers to N100, 000, we and other sister security agencies are on the trail of the hoodlums and would do everything to ensure that the victims are released unhurt.”

A top official of the transport company confirmed the development to our correspondent on Thursday when The PUNCH visited their office in Effurun, Uvwie council area of the state.

The source also refused to link our correspondent to the owner of the transport company, added, “Do you want me to lose my job? I can’t give you my boss’ number. My Oga is doing everything possible to rescue the passengers.”

When contacted, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Zanna Ibrahim, confirmed the incident but clarified that the incident occurred at Rumoji in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.

Ibrahim added, “The incident actually happened in Rumoji in Port-Harcourt and not in Delta State. The passengers were from Delta to Port-Harcourt but the incident happened in Rumoji.


Punch

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