Armed bandits have kidnapped 11 commuters travelling to Abuja in a Toyota bus belonging to the Sokoto State Mass Transit, says the police command in Zamfara.
A statement by the command’s spokesman Muhammad Shehu said the police rescued two of the victims.
Mr Shehu also refuted claims that the bandits had abducted 60 people.
“The attention of the Zamfara state police command has been drawn to the above story trending on social and some conventional media that armed bandits blocked Sokoto–Gusau road and abducted 60 people travelling from Sokoto to Abuja,” the police statement said.
It explained that on Sunday, “a large number” of armed bandits blocked the bus “travelling from Sokoto to Abuja along the Sokoto-Gusau road in Bakura LGA,” with the command deploying police officers attached to ‘Operation Restore Peace’ to dislodge them.
“The road was instantly cleared for motorists and other road users, and more police operatives reinforced to improve the security and safety of commuters,” the statement said. “In the course of mopping up the scene, a Toyota bus belonging to the Sokoto State Mass Transit was sighted empty, and it was revealed that 11 passengers, including the driver, were abducted and taken into the bush before the arrival of the police.”
The command further disclosed that “two persons, who were left far behind with other hoodlums, were abandoned by their captors for fear of being neutralised by the police operatives.”
According to the statement, the command is currently “employing various search and rescue strategies” to safely free the remaining nine hostages.
“In view of this,” the police said, “the command enjoins members of the public to discountenance the purported abduction of 60 persons.”