Driver shot dead, passengers abducted by gunmen 

Driver shot dead, passengers abducted by gunmen 

A commercial bus driver has been killed by gunmen, while about eight of his passengers were abducted in the Abonema/Degema/EmuohaEmuoha/Kalabari area of the East-West Road in Rivers State.

THE DAILY VENDOR gathered that the killed driver, identified as Salvation Harry, who ferried his passengers from the Mile One park in the Diobu area of Port Harcourt, was travelling to Buguma before he was ambushed on one of the bad spots.

A source said the gunmen shot the driver dead in a commando-like fashion and immediately took all passengers into a forest on Saturday night, even as they fired shots into the air to ward off any threat and escaped unchallenged.

It was later gathered that one of the kidnapped travellers was freed after parting with about N150,000, while others were still in captivity.

A driver plying the route, who did not want his name in print, lamented that despite a protest calling on relevant security agencies to rise to the occasion, the frequent attacks had now led to the death of one of them.

“We had protested on our Kalabari-Emuoha-Buguma road because of the series of kidnap incidents and the shooting of our drivers and passengers.

“Even the Commissioner of Police sent a representative. After then, there has been an increase in kidnapping attempts and incidents.

“But yesterday, the worst of it happened. They (miscreants) killed one of our drivers by name Salvation Harry, who is from Buguma. As I am talking to you now, he is in the Buguma mortuary. 

And the occupants of the vehicle are in the bush with the kidnappers.

“We don’t really know what to do because we have lost confidence in the government. They cannot protect lives and property again.

“Maybe because we are not violent and cannot resort to carrying arms to protect ourselves on that road. We are tired,” he explained.

The eyewitness said the presence of security personnel on the road had not solved the challenge in the area and accused the policemen of paying attention to people carrying illegally refined petroleum products.

He said, “The police on their part are just concerned about collecting money they will collect from drivers and exploiting passengers.

“Their concern is the number of illegally refined products they will carry. Otherwise we have not seen a situation whereby we have nine to ten security checkpoints on that road, yet they killed our driver last night and took the occupants of the vehicle.

“We don’t know what will become the fate of the passengers in the bush. If they could kill the driver, then we don’t know the fate of the passengers.

“So, we are appealing to relevant authorities to come to our aid. We are law abiding citizens. This is where we feed our families and fend for ourselves.”

When contacted, the spokesperson of the state police command, Grace Iringe-Koko, confirmed the incident.

Iringe-koko said the police have launched an investigation into the incident to ensure that the travellers are rescued as well as to apprehend the abductors.

She said, “Yes we are aware of it and we have launched an investigation into the incident, and a manhunt to ensure the kidnappers are apprehended.”

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