Nigerian police in southwest Ondo state have launched a search operation for looking for over 30 people kidnapped on Saturday as they were returning home from a funeral.
The mass kidnapping came a day a day after gunmen seized scores of worshippers at a mosque during Friday prayers in northwest Zamfara state. The almost weekly attacks have Nigerian authorities under intense criticism for the nation’s worsening insecurity.
Meanwhile, the police spokesperson in Ondo State, Funmilayo Odunlami said that the states had sent security agents into the forest to search for the hostages.
Odunlami said one of the victims had been rescued and was aiding security officials with details of the attack.
Shooters intercepted two vehicles carrying travellers on the Benin-Owo expressway on Saturday evening. The travellers were returning home from a funeral in nearby Edo State.
At the same time, it is not yet clear whether the kidnappers have contacted the families of the victims.
A militia in Ondo state known as Amotekun has also deployed its men to look for the abductees.
The abduction comes amid growing criticism of the government for failing to address security issues around the nation. Authorities are trying to stop kidnap-for-ransom gangs while also battling Islamist insurgent groups in the Northeast.
Furthermore, Ondo State resident Goke Oluwole said that fear is running high. “Two vehicles, they were 32 in number including drivers and conductors. 32 is an alarming number. The thing has been regular, there is no day they don’t kidnap.”
Last Friday, gunmen disguised as worshippers invaded a mosque in northwest Zamfara State and abducted dozens of worshippers.
In early June, gunmen invaded a Catholic Church in Owo State and killed 40 worshippers and injured almost 90 others.
Over the weekend, security analyst Senator Ireogbu told VOA that the government has not been proactive in addressing insecurities.