Police authorities in Kaduna State have debunked reports of the abduction of scores of persons by suspected bandits along the Kaduna-Abuja highway.
Debunking the story in a statement on Tuesday, the spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command, Mansir Hassan, admitted that there was a heavy gun duel between security operatives and bandits who attempted to cross the Kaduna-Abuja highway at Dogon Fili area heading towards Jere axis on January 6th, during which some of the bandits escaped with bullet wounds.
He explained that in the course of the gun battle, six persons plying the highway sustained varying degrees of injuries and were rushed to the hospital for medical attention. But he said nobody was kidnapped by the bandits as wrongly reported in some sections of the media.
The police spokesman identified the victims as Jibrin Tasiu, Jummai Abubakar, Zafira Abubakar, Abdulkarim Nurudeen, Lance Corporal Chinedu Moneke and Ayo James.
The police spokesman also assured that the Kaduna-Abuja highway has been fortified for the use of commuters.
Kaduna is one of several states in northwestern and central Nigeria terrorised by criminal gangs, locally known as bandits, who raid villages, kill and abduct residents as well as burn homes after looting them.
The bandits have long terrorised North-West and central Nigeria and operate from bases deep in forests and raiding villages to loot and kidnap residents for ransom.
Competition for natural resources between nomadic herders and farmers, intensified by rapid population growth and climate pressures, has also exacerbated social tensions and sparked violence.
A jihadist conflict has raged in northeastern Nigeria since 2009, killing tens of thousands of people and displacing around two million, as Boko Haram battles for supremacy with rivals linked to the Islamic State group.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former Lagos governor elected in February in a highly contested ballot, has promised to attract more investment to Africa’s largest economy and most populous country in a bid to tackle its persistent security challenges.