Gunmen kidnap 32 people from a train station in southern Nigeria

YENAGOA, NIGERIA, Jan 8 (Reuters) – Gunmen armed with AK-47 assault rifles kidnapped more than 30 people from a train station in Nigeria’s southern Edo state, the governor’s office said on Sunday.

The attack is the latest example of growing insecurity that has spread to almost every corner of Africa’s most populous country, posing a challenge to the government ahead of presidential elections in February.

Police said in a statement that armed herdsmen attacked Tom Ikimi station at 4:00 pm (15:00 GMT) while passengers were waiting for a train to Warri, an oil hub in nearby Delta state. The station is about 111 km northeast of the state capital Benin City and close to the Anambra state border.

Some people at the station were shot in the attack, police said.

The Edo State Commissioner for Information, Chris Osa Nehihare, said the kidnappers took away 32 people, although one had already escaped.

“Currently, security personnel comprising the military and police, as well as men from the vigilance network and hunters, are intensifying search and rescue operations within a reasonable radius to rescue the kidnap victims,” ​​he said. “We are confident that the remaining victims will be rescued in the coming hours.

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) closed the station until further notice and the Federal Ministry of Transport called the kidnappings “totally barbaric”.

NRC last month resumed rail service linking the capital Abuja with the northern state of Kaduna, months later gunmen blew up the trackskidnapped dozens of passengers and killed six people.

The last hostage taken in the March raid was not released until October.

Insecurity is widespread in Nigeria, with Islamist insurgencies in the northeast, banditry in the northwest, separatists in the southeast and clashes between farmers and herdsmen in central states.

Reporting by Tife Owolabi; Additional reporting by Felix Onua in Abuja and Garba Muhammad in Kaduna; Editing by David Holmes

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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