15 people were killed on Sunday and many others abducted when kidnappers blocked the Kaduna-Abuja expressway around 5 pm, witnesses said.
The incident happened around Gidan Busa, a village not far away from Rijana, which is 133 kilometres to Abuja.
It was gathered that nearly 20 vehicles were forced to stop at the bushy and sloppy location when the gunmen laid siege.
The location had no security presence at the time of the attack.
They said apart from the over 15 people reportedly killed by the gunmen, many others including women and children were kidnapped and taken to the bush. When contacted, the Kaduna State Police Public relations Officer, ASP Mohammed Jalige, said the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of the area was working on the situation report and will communicate as soon as it was done.
How the attack was launched
Witnesses said the kidnappers armed with sophisticated weapons stormed the highway and opened fire on unsuspecting travellers who were heading to Abuja from the Kaduna axis.
The attackers blocked the traffic after firing shots at speeding vehicles, which forced them to stop. It was learnt that some people who attempted to flee were shot.
“The first vehicle to be attacked was an 18-seater bus, which was fully loaded,” a witness who gave his name as Mamman, narrated .
He said he was on his way to Abuja from his home town in Katsina.
“I am among the survivors; I saw everything that happened. I participated in evacuating the death from the road,” he said.
While giving a graphic description of what happened, Mamman said bullets hit the driver of the first hummer bus and killed him instantly, forcing the vehicle to wobble for seconds and then stopped across the road.
“There were three vehicles in front of ours when the kidnappers suddenly appeared on the road and started shooting sporadically.
“The two buses and a wagon in the front were the first to be attacked. They opened fire on them. The first one moved unsteadily from side to side before it stopped.
“The second hummer bus and a saloon car were also affected. Our vehicle, a Volkswagen Golf car was the fourth in the line facing the gunmen and when our driver noticed what was happening, he veered off the road,” Mamman said.
According to him, “Many vehicles coming from behind, I think nearly 20 of them were forced to stop also. Many passengers, who have the agility, including those in our vehicle, took to their heels.
“I didn’t run away and I don’t know why; I only moved closer to the middle of the road and squad. I saw when the attackers shepherded some of those kidnapped into the bush,” he said. Mamman said after some time, the police arrived at the scene.
“Some policemen came to the rescue and I also participated in recovering some of the people killed and those who sustained injuries from gunshots.
“The vehicles that blocked the road were cleared by the police and some good Samaritans and that was when people started moving. I dropped on the way to Abuja because I was heading towards Bwari,” he said.
Malam Mu’azu, who lives around the area, confirmed that kidnappers have resurfaced along the Abuja-Kaduna expressway.
“I was not at the scene of the attack but an acquaintance who passed through the location said he saw what happened.
“This (Abuja-Kaduna road) is a dangerous route once again. There was a respite some months ago when security operatives took serious action against the kidnappers but it seems they have gone to sleep again.
“The whole stretch from Jere, which is little over 70 kilometres from Abuja is no longer safe. Kidnappers now lay siege around Kurmin Kare, Gidan Malam Mamman up to Rijana,” he said.
Interestingly, there is a big security hub at Katari, a village located 92 kilometres from Abuja.
Different security operatives including anti-kidnap squad, other police operatives, the army, civil defence and road safety personnel, among others, had been stationed around Katari.
They were meant to act with dispatch whenever the need arose.
Locals said there was the need to check the resurgence of breaches along the highway, which is the only artery that takes people from the South and the FCT to the North West and parts of the North East.
In the last few years, hundreds of people have been killed on the road while families of those kidnapped had to pay ransom to free their loved ones.