Gunmen kill three travellers, shoot journalist in Benue

By AdvocateNews on 30/07/2019

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 ...abduct ex-NULGE Chairman in Edo

Armed men yesterday shot at a commercial vehicle carrying travellers and killed three occupants on the Katsina-Ala-Makurdi Road in Benue State.

The state reporter of Business Day newspaper, Benjamin Agesan, who was among occupants of the vehicle, was also shot.

Agesan cheated death but sustained serious gunshot wounds.

The vehicle was conveying passengers from Katsina-Ala to Makurdi at about 6a.m. when the gunmen, who suspected that the passengers were carrying huge sums of money, trailed them and opened fire on them around the River Dura bridge in Buruku Local Government Area. Three of the victims died while others were wounded.

It is about five kilometres from Katsina-Ala town.

A witness and close friend of the Business Day reporter, Mr. Jerry Iorngaem, said the incident occurred at Kilometre 5 on the ever-busy Katsina-Ala-Makurdi Expressway.

Iorngaem said the journalist, who was returning to Makurdi from Katsina-Ala, had boarded a bus but after seeing other friends in the one that was attacked, decided to join them.

The witness said the bus also carried local tax collectors who were carrying huge sums of money and were being trailed by the gunmen.

He said: “Shortly after take-off, the gunmen followed the vehicle to about five kilometres and shot sporadically at it. In the process, they punctured the bus tyres which caused it to summersault into the bush.”

Iorngaem said the gunmen ransacked the entire vehicle and killed three passengers carrying huge sums of money, leaving the reporter in a pool of blood.

Agesan, who was said to have been shot three times, at press time, was receiving treatment at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH).

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Catherine Sewuese Anene, said she was yet to receive the report

Also, gunmen have reportedly kidnapped a former Edo Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Akoko-Edo branch, Alhaji Jimoh Olumoye.

It was gathered that Olumoye was abducted along Igarra-Okpe Road on Sunday afternoon while driving in his car to pick his children from the farm.

The children of the victim were said to have raised the alarm when they saw their father’s car with the doors opened and his phones abandoned.

A family source who craved anonymity, said the family had lodged a formal complaint at the Igarra Police Station.

The source said: “His children had gone to the farm early in the morning and he promised to go and pick them in the afternoon before he would attend his family meeting.

“The children waited endlessly for their father and when they did not see him, decided to trek. On their way home, they met his car on the road with the four doors opened and his mobile phone abandoned. After searching for their father fruitlessly, they decided to come home to inform the family.

“We have been praying for his safety, we are worried because he is a civil servant who also farms to augment whatever he is earning as a civil servant. We are appealing that his abductors release him unhurt. He has an aged mother and everybody is scared of breaking the news to her, we are really worried.”

It was gathered that several vigilance groups in Igarra, Ojah, Ogugu and environs in Akoko-Edo local government area and their counterparts in Owan East have been mobilized to comb the forests around the area.

A member of the vigilance group said, “It was only the State Security Service that responded to our call immediately we heard of the incident and called them. We have mobilised our members and we are trying to track them down in the forests so they would not move out to other states close to us.”

As at the time of writing this report, neither the Edo State Police Commissioner, Mr. Mohammed DanMallam, nor the Command’s spokesman, DSP Chidi Nwabuzor, could be reached for comments.

Posted 30/07/2019 07:31:35 AM


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