Hours after their abduction, some of the kidnapped travellers in Ondo State have been rescued by men of the State Security Network Agency, also known as Amotekun.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the persons were kidnapped by bandits along the Ido-Ani-Ifira Expressway, in the Akoko South-East Local Government Area of Ondo State on Tuesday.
An 18-seater passenger bus, which was conveying the victims, was said to be heading towards Abuja from Lagos, when it was attacked.
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The bandits were said to have dragged the victims into the bush to an unknown destination.
The state Commander of the Amotekun Corps, Chief Adetunji Adeleye, said his men responded to a distress call from concerned citizens, adding that the team rescued nine of the 12 victims.
“My men are still in the Ifira Akoko’s forest in Kogi to ensure the remaining three are rescued unhurt,” he added.
A source disclosed that the kidnappers had reached out to the families of the remaining victims and demanded N10m for their release.
The Ondo State Police Command had earlier said operatives of the command and other security agents had commenced a search for the abducted travellers.
A source explained that the vehicle was attacked at a bad portion of the expressway.
The source said, “It was easy for the hoodlums to strike because when the vehicle got to the bad portion of the road, it could not speed again. It was going on a low speed when they struck.
“Suddenly, the bandits rushed out from the bush and started shooting sporadically, which made the travellers to run helter-skelter into the forest. Some of them lost their personal items while running into the bush for safety. Five of them were, however, unlucky, as the hoodlums caught and marched them into the bush.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs Funmilayo Odunlami, said three persons were abducted, adding that efforts were ongoing to rescue them.
She said, “As I speak to you, our anti-kidnapping unit has taken over that case and we expect something positive.”
Commenting on the development, a community leader in Ifira Akoko, Chief Boboye Ojomo, attributed the incessant robberies and kidnappings in the area to the deplorable condition of the federal road from Orita Ipele to Isua Akoko, which was abandoned by the contractor handling the project.