Travellers from Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, were thrown into panic on Monday, August 7, when some yet-to-be-identified gunmen suspected to be kidnappers, hijacked a commercial bus belonging to God is Good Motors, taking with them about 15 passengers that were on board, including the bus driver.
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.
According to the information on ThisDay, the incident occurred at about 7a.m. around Elibrada community, Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State on the East-West Road.
Sources said that the hoodlums had blocked the road with tree trunks and rushed out immediately the bus slowed down. They then 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, further added that the kidnappers also shot continuously into the air and at the bus, but stated that no dead body was found in the abandoned bus after the incident.
On a visit to the premises of the transport company, no staff or official was willing to confirm or make any comment on the incident.
Normal activities were going on without hitches as booking was in progress for movement against the next day to the several routes plied by the inter-state bus service company and other staff of the transport company were busy at their duty post as if nothing happened.
An insider source, nevertheless, said top executives of the company had gone to the site of the incident and were working with security agencies to handle the situation.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the incident but denied that all the passengers were abducted, saying those kidnapped were five before three were rescued.
“Five passengers were kidnapped on the East-West this morning (yesterday). Three of them have been rescued already and the police have also gone on the trail of the criminals to rescue the remaining two people. At no time, they will be released. The CP has made deployment in the area to ensure they are released unconditionally.”
However, several calls to get the police Public Relations Officer to reveal the location where the victims were rescued and whether the bus had been recovered were not answered.
It was also gathered 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 God is Good Motors driver, who only gave his name as Nkeme, told correspondents of Punch 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.