By Henry Iheanacho
Gunmen suspected to be bandits have kidnapped two military officers along Maiduguri-Damaturu highway in Goni Masari area of Borno state.
According to Peoples Gazette, a wireless message sent by 29 Task Force Brigade stated that the soldiers, identified as Bello Abubakar and Oyediran Adedotun were kidnapped while traveling to Kano in a civilian vehicle at about 5:07 p.m. on Saturday.
It was gathered that some other passengers alerted the army base in Mainok, having observed the driver’s suspicious behaviour and his familiarity with the bandits.
The wireless message said the bandits were believed to have operated based on information relayed to them by the driver.
Peoples Gazette gathered that troops from the 134 special forces battalion led by the commanding officer were mobilised to the scene, but the bandits had fled the area by the time they arrived.
The driver and vehicle were also immediately apprehended and are in the army’s custody.
“The soldiers were on pass when the incident occurred. Liaison with Sect 2 MIB revealed that a SAR operation is being conducted while the driver of the bus in which the soldiers were traveling is suspected to be a prime suspect in the incident due to some indicators. He has been arrested by troops and is undergoing investigation,” the army document stated.
Abubakar’s identity card and wallet were found in the vehicle, but the army was unable to discover the whereabouts of the soldiers and other passengers.
This comes days after an Islamic cleric, Kallamu Musa Ali Dikwa revealed that members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in Borno State have been kidnapping strictly Christian passengers on the same road.
He said, “This has been going on for two to three weeks now, along Maiduguri-Damaturu Road. When ISWAP kidnap passengers in a bus, they keep the Christian passengers captive and release the Muslim passengers, this is not just once, it has been happening. They just stop the car, enter into the bush, release the Muslims and hold the Christians captive.
“Just recently, a bus driver was stopped and they asked how many Christians are in the bus, he said two, they picked those two and the rest continued on their journey. This thing is getting to another dimension.
“Our people are afraid. We don’t even have security. It is terrible. Yet, northern leaders are already holding political meetings, thinking of who wants to be the next president of Nigeria when insecurity is ravaging the nation.”