On the 7th of January 2023 at about 4:PM, an unspecified number of suspected herdsmen armed with AK47 rifles attacked the train station at Igueben, Edo State, and kidnapped an unspecified number of passengers who were waiting to board the train to Warri.

The kidnappers who shot sporadically into the air before kidnapping some passengers left some persons with bullet wounds.

The Area Commander Irrua, Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Igueben Division, and men have visited the scene of the crime with members of Edo State Security Network, local vigilante, and hunters with a view to protecting the lives and property of the remaining passengers.

Bush Combing operations have commenced in order to rescue the victims and arrest the fleeing kidnappers. Further development will be communicated.

The Edo State Commissioner for Communications and Orientation, Hon. Chris Nehikhare said that security operatives arrested one of the suspected kidnappers involved in the kidnapping of 32 passengers at the Igueben train station, in Igueben Local Government Area of Edo State.

The commissioner disclosed this during a press briefing in Benin City, adding that one out of the 32 persons who were attacked at the train station has escaped from the kidnappers.

He said: “After 32 persons were kidnapped, the Police, vigilante, and local hunters swung into action, combing the bushes around the vicinity. One of the kidnapped victims was able to escape.”

Nehikhare noted, “The Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu visited the scene of the attack for on-the-spot assessment and was told that one of the suspects was arrested and he has been helping the police with the investigation to arrest other fleeing members of the kidnapping gang.

“We congratulate the Police and other security agencies for their swiftness in attending to the security brief. We appreciate the local hunters and members of the Edo State Security Network as their collaboration assisted in this operation. This synergy led to the success recorded in a very short time.”

“We hope this is the last time we will have such an attack on government infrastructure, especially train stations here in Edo State. Our security network was swift to react to the incident and we condole the families of the victims. We will give necessary support to the security agencies, vigilantes, and local hunters who are on the trail of these kidnappers,” he added.

Nehikhare, said that a combined team of the Military, the Police, men of the vigilante network and hunters were on the heels of the kidnappers.

Nehikhare who gave an update on efforts of the Edo State Government to rescue the kidnapped passengers in Benin on Sunday, said: “At the moment, security personnel made up of the military and the police as well as men of the vigilante network and hunters are intensifying search and rescue operations in reasonable radius to rescue the kidnap victims. At 3:PM Sunday, one suspect has been captured and is helping the Police with their investigation.

“One victim out of the 32 people kidnapped escaped from the hands of the abductors. We are confident that the other victims will be rescued in the coming hours.”

Edo State Government condoles with the families of the victims for this unfortunate occurrence.

Nehikhare appealed for calm and urged citizens to assist security personnel with information on suspicious movements in and around their neighborhoods, particularly in the area where the rescue operation is taking place.

Following the directive from Governor Godwin Obaseki that the kidnappers that attacked the train in Igueben be smoked out of their hiding and the persons abducted be rescued, six persons have been rescued.

The six persons are a 65-year-old man, a nursing mother with her baby, a 6-year-old girl and two siblings; aged two and five years old.

Nehikhare said: “We commend the efforts of the rescue team in the bushes and their support staff that have been working tirelessly since the incident occurred to ensure the kidnapped passengers are rescued and reunited with their families. We are confident that the other victims will be rescued soon as the highly motivated security personnel are in high spirits and have doubled down on the hot chase of the kidnappers. As events unfold in the bushes, be assured that we will keep you posted and we crave the support of all stakeholders, particularly the media to stay with the facts and avoid sensational reports that could further inflict emotional pain on the families and friends of the victims who are already in distress.”

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