BY BRIGHT JACOB
The Nigerian Railway Corporation has shut down Ekehen Train Station in Edo State till further notice following a security breach on Saturday evening.
Gunmen suspected to be herdsmen abducted many passengers waiting to board a train from the station in Igueben Local Government Area of Edo State to Warri in Delta State, while many others sustained injuries.
Spokesperson for Edo State Police Command, Chidi Nwabuzor, said in a statement that the abductors, armed with AK 47, invaded the train station and shot sporadically into the air before abducting scores of intending travellers into the bush.
Announcing the closure of the station, the NRC said in a terse statement on Sunday, “Public Announcement: This is to inform our general public and most especially our esteemed passengers, that Ekehen Station has been temporarily closed due to security issues, till further notice.”
The police statement read further: “This is to inform the gentlemen of the press that on January 7, 2023, at about 1600hrs, an unspecified number of herdsmen armed with AK-47 rifles attacked the train station at Igueben, Edo State and kidnapped an unspecified number of passengers who were waiting to board the train to Warri.
“The kidnappers who shot sporadically into the air before kidnapping some passengers left some persons with bullet wounds. The Area Commander Irrua, DPO Igueben Division, and men have visited the scene of the crime with members of the Edo State Security Network, local vigilantes, and hunters with a view to protecting the lives and property of the remaining passengers.
“Bush combing operations have commenced in order to rescue the victims and arrest the fleeing kidnappers. Further developments will be communicated.”
The Edo train station attack comes barely one year after the March 28, 2022 invasion by bandits on the Abuja-Kaduna railway axis, resulting in the death of about 14 passengers while 65 others were abducted.