Abduction of persons for ransom along the Abuja-Kaduna highway has continued despite increase in security surveillance on the route.
The police and other security agencies increased surveillance along the route when cases of abduction peaked in May with at least one occurring daily.
Our correspondents learnt from residents of Rijanna and Katari, which were hotspots for kidnappers, that the attacks had however reduced in the last three weeks.
Daily Trust on Sunday learnt that within a spate of three weeks, only two major cases were reported against the daily occurrence some weeks back.
A victim who does not want his name in print said he was attacked while travelling with other people to Kaduna some few kilometres to Rijanna last Saturday.
He said the bandits stopped the commercial vehicle in which he was travelling around 12 noon and that the gunmen asked all the passengers to follow them into the bush around the Rijanna area.
“They have a location where they camped us and demanded our relatives’ phone numbers. They then called our relatives and negotiated amounts of money before our release,” he said.
The victim said this was the third time he had been kidnapped within Rijanna community.
“Unfortunately, in the last kidnap my relatives paid N450,000. They called four of us out of many people in the camp and showed us a remote pedestrian way to follow back to Rijanna. The journey from their camp inside the bush is about one and half to two hours of trekking.
“What they usually do after kidnapping the victims is to call their relatives. They will then describe the location where the ransom would be taken and some of them will go there to receive the money. After that the person that brought the money will return and they will release the victim,” he said.
The same source told our correspondent that there was another case of abduction within the same community on Thursday and that one of his younger brothers was still being held by the bandits.
Another resident of Rijanna, Abdulsam Abubakar, said the rate of abductions has reduced and that there was an improvement in the security of the area.
“I have not heard of abduction in the last two weeks and even those bandits that usually come from the bushes into Rijanna town in the evening no longer do so.
“Some of our people who are always afraid of meeting them on their way to their farms say they have not encountered them in à while,” he said.
When contacted, spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command, DSP Yakubu Sabo, confirmed that the command received report of recent incident of kidnapping in Rijanna along the Kaduna-Abuja highway.
He said, “The only incident took place on the 14th of June, at Sabon Sara village as a result of an accident which caused a gridlock. When the security operatives were busy trying to evacuate the vehicle, some bandits sneaked out and abducted seven people.”
He said when the security agents received report of the attack, they trailed the gunmen which compelled them to release the victims.
Sabo added that security surveillance has been intensified on the highway with the launch of Operation Puff Adder and Operation Thunder Flash.