Armed bandits abducted at least 50 travelers on Sunday along the Sokoto-Gusau road. Although an official of the Sokoto government who confirmed the abductions did not state the numbers of victims, a witness said over 50 people were kidnapped during the operation.
According to some sources, most of those abducted were boarding buses belonging to the State Transport Authority, known as SPORA.
The general manager of the Sokoto Mass Transit, Yahuza Chika who also confirmed the attack said only one of their buses was involved, while other vehicles involved did not belong to them. He said two people from the bus escaped while the other passengers were taken by the bandits. He did not give the number of those kidnapped from his organization’s bus.
A motorist from Talata Mafara going to Sokoto, Abubakar Umar, said more than 50 people were kidnapped during the operation that lasted more than 30 minutes.
He said, “I was driving when I started hearing gunshots. I had to stop immediately after Lambar Bakura and other motorists stopped too. When the road was cleared, we drove to the spot and they were many vehicles empty parked. I counted three empty SPORA vehicles.”
Another motorist, Isa Mustapha, said the attack occurred few minutes after he drove past the spot.
“From Tureta to Lambar Bakura, you can count more than ten security checkpoints that include police, immigration and soldiers, how then could bandits be terrorising same place every day?
“I left just a little after 11 in the morning and I started getting calls to confirm whether I’ve left the spot because bandits have started attacking people. It’s scary.”
Ahmad Madunaka, a school teacher in Sokoto also said, “Commuters in the first three vehicles were completely kidnapped and those included the SPORA vehicle.”