Tungan Maje, a community on the outskirts of Abuja, was thrown into pandemonium in the wee hours of Thursday as gunmen invaded the community and abducted 12 persons.
Residents said the incident followed many unreported such cases along the Zuba/Gwagwalada/Lokoja expressway that links the Federal Capital Territory with Kogi State.
Thursday’s raid occurred at about 1 a.m and lasted over 40 minutes before the intervention of the police and local vigilante groups, the residents said.
Frank Osas, whose family members were seized by the hoodlums, told PREMIUM TIMES that he was awakened by his wife to the sight of four men brandishing cutlass and guns outside his gate and demanding that they opened the gate.
“When I refused to open the gate for them, one of them jumped the gate and used his cutlass to destroy the padlock for others to enter,” he told our reporter who visited the community a few hours after the attack.
“I opened the back door and jumped into the other compound before any of them could get to me,” he said.
“I heard one of them asking another in Hausa language if the sound of gunshots was from them or not,” a resident, Olaiya Mike, said.
He said he overheard the discussion between the gunmen while they were raiding his house.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES behind his Nissan Almeria car which windscreen and seats had been shattered by bullets, Mr Mike said he pulled his 17-year-old daughter, Mariam, through a window after forcing down his sitting-room’s burglary proof.
Police did not rescue us – Victims
Contrary to a statement by the police, one of the released abductees who asked not to be named said their release was not secured by the police.
He also narrated how Mr Osas’ 14-year-old boy was made by the kidnappers to carry foodstuff and other items they had stolen through the forest.
The police outstation in Tunga Maje, Zuba, is less than five minutes by a motorcycle ride from the raided houses. The officer-in-charge denied that his officers failed to react to distress calls from the residents, saying he was at the scene before anyone came to report at the station.
The identity of the kidnappers is yet to be determined. However, residents of several Nigerian states, including Kogi and Niger, both of which border Abuja, have been victims of armed kidnappers who retreat to nearby forests after their dastardly acts.