From Scholastica Hir Makurdi 


 Gunmen yet to be identified have reportedly hijacked a commercial vehicle in Jootar, Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State and kidnapped ten passengers.

Our correspondent gathered that the incident took place on Friday at about 12 noon, as they were heading to  Gboko enroute Akure, Ondo State from Wukari, in Taraba State.

It was said that the vehicle, a Sharon bus, was conveying some artisans to Gboko, Gboko LGA of the state, when the gunmen intercepted them.

 A source who preferred not to be named said the driver was going to drop his passengers in Gboko, where they would further board another vehicle going to Akure, before they were abducted at Jootar.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer PPRO Benue State Command, SP Catherine Anene said: “I have no report about this incident in Benue please.”

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The Chairman of Ukum LGA, Mr Victor Iorzaa, also said he was not aware of the incident.

However, competent sources in Ukum LGA said the vehicle was intercepted by heavily armed gunmen who forced the driver out of the vehicle, snatched his phone from him and zoomed off with the passengers and vehicle into the bush.

The source said that the driver of the vehicle explained to him that “the incident happened around midday on Friday. 

 “He (driver) said he picked them (passengers) from Takum and the incident happened just two kilometers away from Jootar, in Ukum LGA. He was supposed to drop them in Gboko, as they were enroute Akure, Ondo State.

 Speaking on the incident, a member of Benue State House of Assembly representing Ukum State Constituency, Hon. Ezra Nyiyongo, said: “I was told that a vehicle was intercepted. 

 “According to what I heard since I am not the one that spoke with the driver, he (driver) said he picked those people from Wukari, Taraba State and was conveying them to Gboko. 

“From Gboko according to him, they were going to Akure for menial jobs; I am not quite sure; I am just reporting from the driver’s words. They were then intercepted in Jootar in Ukum LGA.”