From AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna

About 50 gunmen suspected to be kidnappers have been reported to have attacked Juji Community in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, killing a vigilante man. The bandits, The Nation learnt, kidnapped the wife of a Medical Doctor Philip Ataga, his children as well as his security guards in the early hours of Saturday. Residents of the community who came out in their numbers on Sunday to protest incessant attacks by the gunmen said, the latest incident started Friday night and lasted till early hours of Saturday.

The protesting residents said, the fully armed bandits engaged men of the Nigeria police in several hours of gun battle. The youth leader of the community, Hosea Bawa told newsmen that they embarked on a peaceful protest against increasing cases of kidnapping in their area. One of the residents, Mr. Saturday Moses said, the they were fed up with the attacks by the bandits. He said, “this time, they were up to 50. They came since around 10pm on Friday night, but they didn’t leave until very early hours of Saturday.

“Unlike before when they use to have a field day, they had to face the police this time and they had a serious gun battle. We heard gunshot for several hours. But, I don’t know whether they overpowered the police or what happened at the end of the day, they entered some houses and in the process they kidnapped wife and children of a Medical Doctor and their security guard. That is why we are protesting to call on the government to rescue the abducted people from bandits and safe our community from these evil men once and for all.” He said.

Meanwhile, the protesters who blocked the Kachia Highway in Sabon Tasha were later dispersed by the security combined Security Personnel from Army, Police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). The protesters had set up burnfires for about thirty minutes preventing free flow of traffic before the Kaduna Brigade Commander of the Nigerian Army in a convoy of about six trucks with armed soldiers, accompanied by Policemen from the Sabon Tasha dispersed them.

At Dr. Ataga’s residence, he told newsmen that he got home past midnight to find out that the kidnappers went away with his wife and children. He said he was yet to be contacted by the gunmen to know if it is a case of ransom kidnapping. The Councillor of Sabon Tasha Ward of Chikun LGA, Honourable Ganaka Kofi, who was also at the residence of the victim, told newsmen that it is unfortunate that the criminals are now more daring.

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