Gunmen kill four travellers, abduct many on Katsina’s “safest road”

At least, four people, including the driver, were killed when bandits attacked a Katsina State Transport Authority bus with number plate KT 14D-58 KT on Sunday morning.

The attack occurred around Mil Takwas and Farun Bala villages, some five kilometres from the Natsinta Army Barrack around 11:34 a.m.

The bus was attacked on the Jibia – Katsina highway which leads to Maradi in the Niger Republic.

PREMIUM TIMES reports that there are over 18 security checkpoints on the 38-kilometre road from the capital city, Katsina, to Magama Jibia.

Nasir Muhammad, whose wife was one of the passengers on the bus, told PREMIUM TIMES that the bus was one of the four vehicles attacked.

“My wife called me around 11:47 a.m. crying that they have been attacked. I was in Katsina while she was coming from Jibia to meet me. She told me that their driver was already killed and there were other vehicles on the front who have been attacked,” he said.

The Chairman of Jibia Local Government, Bashir Maitan, confirmed the attack to reporters in Katsina Sunday evening but argued that only one person was killed.

“Yes, there was an attack on motorists today. We were informed about the movement of some bandits in the morning and while I was mobilizing vigilante members and security agents, we heard that the bandits had launched an attack,” he said.

He said the bandits’ movement was tracked from Gangara village to Kahel and linked up with the main road.

“The bandits opened fire on the vehicle when it was obvious that the driver was trying to reverse upon sighting them,” he added.

“When I reached the Natsinta Barrack, they were soldiers who asked us not to proceed because bandits were attacking motorists, but I told them my wife was in the vehicle being attacked. I was among the first set of people to go there because even the local government chairman met me there,” he said.

He said aside from the driver, two other people were killed while the fourth one died at the Umaru Musa Yar’adu’a University Teaching Hospital (formerly Federal Medical Center).

“I took my wife to the hospital alongside some people while the Chairman and other government officials took the remaining to the hospital. While I was living in the hospital with my wife around 4 p.m., one of the wounded passengers died,” he said.

The managing director of the Katsina State Transport Authority, Haruna Rugoji, confirmed the attack to the News Agency of Nigeria in Katsina.

Mr Rugoji said the gunmen collected the phones and other things belonging to some of the passengers and left the scene.

“The conductor of the vehicle who narrated to us what actually happened said none of the passengers was kidnapped by the bandits.

“Since then, we have not heard any report that one of the passengers in the vehicle is missing,”

The Police Command spokesperson in Katsina State, Gambo Isa, has not released a statement on the attack. His phone number didn’t connect when contacted by PREMIUM TIMES

Katsina, like several other North-west states and a part of the North-central, has been battling insecurity, especially cattle rustling, kidnap for ransom and other forms of bandits’ activities for years. (PREMIUM TIMES)

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