Agaju Madugba, Katsina
Rampaging gunmen struck again in Katsina yesterday morning and abducted four men officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at Jibia, a border town with the Republic of Niger.
A witness said that the customs men were taken hostage at the Dan-Bedi customs checkpoint, along with an unspecified number of unsuspecting travellers on the Jibia – Batsari highway at about 10am.
“The bandits, riding on motorcycles, arrived the customs checkpoint this morning (Wednesday) and overpowered the officers, seized their weapons and fired gunshots sporadically into the air,” a witness told reporters, adding: “The gunmen also seized several motorists and passengers and disappeared with them into the nearby Rugu forest.”
When contacted on telephone, the Katsina State customs public relations officer, Peter Duniya, declined to comment on the matter explaining that “I am on leave.”
But a senior customs officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “Yes, we are aware of the incident but it is still fresh as it just happened this morning (Wednesday) and investigation is still ongoing. We have not even compiled the report and, of course, I am not the right person to speak officially on the issue.”
This is the second time within the week that gunmen abducted persons along the highway in the same area of Jibia. The police confirmed that suspected bandits last Sunday temporarily blocked a section of the Jibia – Batsari Road and kidnapped not fewer than 19 motorists and passengers.
Meanwhile, in a separate incident, gunmen equally invaded the Magama-Jibia community also in Jibia Local Government Area, on Tuesday evening and killed two teenagers as they launched an attack on the villagers.