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Rivers police confirm release of three kidnapped passengers

…Drivers threaten shutdown

…LG chair begs army to deploy men

The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the release of three passengers kidnapped last week from a commercial bus along the Emuoha-Kalabari Road in the state.

It was gathered that a female victim was first allowed to breathe the air of freedom on Saturday evening, before a teenager and an adult male were released the following day (Sunday).

Details of how they were freed from captivity and if ransoms were paid to secure their release could not be ascertained as of the time of filing this report.

The state police command had last week promised that a combined security efforts were ongoing to ensure their release.

Confirming their release to our correspondent, acting spokesman for the state police command, Grace Iringe-Koko, said details would be made public soon.

Yes, they have been released. But the Divisional Police Officer is still trying to get more information. I will get back to you on this,” she stated.

Meanwhile, commercial drivers operating along the Abonema-Degema-Emuoha Road have threatened to withdraw their services if the spate of kidnapping was not tackled urgently.

The drivers, who spoke randomly, said they were no longer safe since the army withdrew from the road, describing the road as a death trap.

One of them said, “They (kidnappers) have carried about five passengers on this road. This road has become a death trap. There is no security here.

“We have up to four local government areas that make use of that road. They should provide security on the road. It is our tax payers’ money they use to service these security men. So, they should bring them back,” he stated.

Another driver said, “If government refuses to do anything from now till Friday, we will shut down our services.

“We also call on the four local government chairmen who promised us that they would improve security on that road, but since then we have not seen any police or other security agencies.

“These boys kidnapped a little child that was in the vehicle. So, we are pleading with the local government chairmen to step up their game,” he added.

Reacting to the development, the Chairman of the Akuku-Toru LGA, Rowland Sekibo, appealed to the Nigerian Army to redeploy its personnel to the Emuoha-Kalabari road.

Sekibo said redeploying soldiers to the road would address recent kidnapping cases there, saying they will be supported with local security.

“You know because of that ugly incident that they attacked the Nigerian Army on that road, the army has withdrawn.

“We want to see how we can bring the army back. Let this other unconventional security people complement the efforts of the conventional security rather than just going to put people there.

“With the recent happenings there, we need to go back to our plan to see how we can go through with it.

“Let me use this opportunity to plead with the Nigerian Army to bring back their men to that Emuoha–Kalabari road while we complement their efforts with intelligence with our boys on the ground,” Sekibo stated.

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