Bandits kidnapped around 50 wedding guests travelling along the Sokoto-Gusau Road.
Some of the wedding guests who were able to flee told the Journalist that the bandits, as the gunmen are known locally, opened fire on the first vehicle they were travelling in at approximately 6 p.m.
Many of those kidnapped were reportedly returning to Gusau, the capital of Zamfara State, after attending a wedding in Tambuwal, Sokoto State.
The bandits, who mostly operate in the northwestern states of Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Kebbi, and Kaduna, as well as the central state of Niger, have killed thousands and displaced tens of thousands.
The bandits have blocked roadways, including motorways, throughout the past year. Important federal routes, including as Abuja-Kaduna, Gusau-Sokoto-Birnin Kebbi, and Birnin Gwari-Kaduna, have become travellers’ worst nightmares, with attacks, kidnappings, and homicides occurring everyday.
One of the evacuees, Lawal Ja’o, told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview that they were attacked just before reaching Dogon Awo in Tureta Local Government Area.
“We began hearing gunfire before the first vehicle was struck,” he stated.
A Toyota coaster bus belonging to the Universal Basic Education Commission UBEC and a Gusau Local Government Secretariat employee vehicle transported the wedding guests. There were also two additional private vehicles engaged.
Mr. Ja’o stated that he does not know how many individuals were abducted from the two cars, but that more than 45 people were taken in the two buses.
When the bandits began firing, he and some of his pals fled into the jungle on the opposite side of the road, according to him.
“We continued to hear the sounds and screams of our coworkers and friends, but we were helpless. After hearing the arrival of security personnel, we emerged from the brush to identify ourselves.
Jabiru Shehu, a student at Shehu Shagari University of Education in Sokoto who was travelling to Talata Mafara from Sokoto, reported that their vehicle escaped “miraculously.”
“We encountered four vacant automobiles containing a cell phone and a few travel bags. We were present when some Tureta police officers arrived.
Mr. Shehu stated, “From what I heard, there were more than 50 bandits, as we were present when some of the travellers who had fled into the jungle returned to the main road.”
Some of the abducted passengers sell phones and phone accessories in Gusau’s Bebeji Plaza Communication Market (GSM village).
“As of this moment, we are searching for more than 45 of our colleagues since some of them informed us this morning (Sunday) that they fled into the woods,” Sharhabilu Moba, a committee member for Bebeji Plaza
Bashir Muhammad, whose two brothers escaped the attack, reported that they, along with three others, have returned home.
“All of my brothers and their companions have returned, with the exception of one who was shot in the leg. He is currently receiving treatment at the hospital. We give thanks to God as we continue to search for the others,” he stated.
Since Saturday night, calls and SMS addressed to the Sokoto State police spokesperson, Sanusi Abubakar, have not been replied.