There was a bit of confusion in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Monday when reports filtered in that some hoodlums suspected to be kidnappers had abducted five passengers, including the driver of a bus belonging to God is Good Motors.
The occupants of the vehicle were said to be Lagos-bound from Port Harcourt before they were waylaid and taken to an unknown destination by their gun-wielding captors.
It was learnt that the incident happened at about 7.20am in Elibrada community along the East-West Road, in the Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Sources said the hoodlums had blocked the road with tree trunks and rushed out immediately the bus slowed down.
It was gathered that the kidnappers pointed guns at the bus and ordered the passengers to come out before marching them into a bush.
A community leader, who did not want to be identified, said the kidnappers also shot continously into the air and at the bus.
The source added that no person was found dead in the abandoned vehicle after the incident.
However, an official of the transport company, who declined comment on the development, said the management of the firm had moved to the scene of the incident to confirm the story.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the booking of passengers for the Tuesday’s journey at the Aba Road office of the transport firm was still ongoing despite the incident.
But the Rivers State Police Command, who confirmed the incident to one of our correspondents, said it had rescued three among the passengers.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Nnamdi Omoni, said through a text message that the three victims were rescued at the risk of a shootout between security operatives and the kidnappers.
Omoni denied that all the passengers were abducted, saying those kidnapped were five before three were rescued.
“Five passengers were kidnapped and three of them have been rescued, remaining two. We fought hard to rescue them at the risk of a gun battle,” the text message indicated.
However, several calls to get the police PRO to speak on where the victims were rescued and whether the bus had been recovered were not answered.
It was also learnt that no contact had been established between the suspected kidnappers and any of the victims’ relatives as of the time of filing this report.
A bus driver, who simply gave his name as Nkeme, told PUNCH Metro that he and some of his colleagues were always afraid whenever they got to some points along the East-West Road in Emohua while travelling.
“We need the police to be in those places. Whenever we are travelling, we are always afraid of the activities of kidnappers and armed robbers,” he said.