Bandits abduct pregnant woman, 4 others in Abuja

The family members of a senior customs officer were abducted on Sunday, by gunmen in Abuja.

According to eyewitnesses, the bandits, numbering around 10, arrived at the residence of the customs officer in Shagari Quarters, Dei-Dei, around 11:30am and made their way straight to the compound.

They reportedly broke in and abducted the officer’s wife, who is heavily pregnant, three of his children, and a younger brother.

The customs officer, who was not at home during the attack, had previously worked with the police Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and had enjoyed police protection.

However, the protection was withdrawn after his deployment to Lagos, leaving his family vulnerable to the attack.

Sources claim the bandits spent over two hours in the compound before proceeding to neighbouring Dakwa community, where they attempted to attack some houses but were repelled by security operatives.

The gunmen later released the pregnant woman, but took the children and the younger brother with them.

However, in a contradictory statement, the FCT Police Command claimed that the kidnapping was foiled, but sources close to the family revealed that, in reality, the children and the younger brother are still in captivity.

Despite this discrepancy, the police maintained their stance, with the FCT Police Command Spokesperson, SP Josephine Adeh, issuing a statement on Monday that read in part: “In an immediate and strategic response to a distress call on the attack by unknown gunmen in Dawaki on May 19, 2024, at around 11:30am, the operatives of the FCT police command led by the Commissioner of Police, CP Benneth C. Igweh, himself, swiftly mobilised to the scene.

“Displaying remarkable bravery and coordination, the police, in synergy with local hunters, advanced on the assailants, tactically ambushing them at Ushafa Hill via Bwari and Shishipe Hills via Mpape. This led to a fierce gun duel as the hoodlums were overwhelmed by the firepower of the operatives, forcing them to scamper to safety with various degrees of bullets injuries, and the victims were rescued.

“While one of the rescued victims is still in the hospital receiving medical attention, the commissioner of police, FCT, CP Benneth C. Igweh, reaffirms the command’s steadfast dedication to maintaining peace and security in the Territory, as search operations are ongoing to rescue other hostages who fled the scene during the shootout.”

The attack has raised concerns about the security situation in the FCT, particularly in the Dei-Dei area, which has witnessed several kidnappings in recent times. Residents have called on the government to take urgent action to address the security challenges in the area.

The traditional ruler of Dakwa, Dr. Alhassan Musa Babachukuri, lamented the activities of the bandits, who he said have created a base behind the Zuma Rock in Chachi community near Dakwa in neighbouring Niger State.

He called on the government to take serious action against the bandits before they escalate their activities.

The police have launched an investigation into the incident and have assured residents of their commitment to ensuring their safety and security.

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