Youth protesting against rampant cases of kidnapping on the Kaduna-Abuja highway have burnt down a police station in Gauraka in Tafa Local Government area of Niger State which is on the highway.
The protest, which began in the early hours of Monday, saw the youth of Gauraka mounting road blocks and setting fire to tyres on the major road.
The youth were demanding that government curb kidnappings along the highway.
Residents told PREMIUM TIMES that the protest followed an attack by gunmen in Angwan-Wazobia community on Monday during which bandits abducted six locals.
The police spokesperson in Niger State, Wasiu Abiodun, confirmed the attack on the community and the burning of the police station in a statement on Monday.
Mr Abiodun said the police had deployed operatives to the area.
“Niger State Police Command wishes to confirm that today being 24th May 2021 at about 0300hrs, unknown gunmen attacked the residents of Angwan-Wazobia in Gauraka area of Tafa LGA where about six persons were abducted.
“Teams of policemen were mobilised to the scene and efforts to rescue the victims are being intensified.
“However, at about 0635hrs of the same date, some miscreants blocked both sides of Abuja – Kaduna expressway, protesting the recent cases of kidnapping in the community.
“The miscreants later extended the protest to Gauraka Police outpost, vandalised and set it ablaze.”
The police spokeperson said efforts were ongoing to disperse the protesters from the highway to ease the flow of traffic on the road.
He said the police had dispatched reinforcement from Minna, the state capital, to the area police command in Suleja, as well as a joint task force from the Minna – Suleja highway to restore normalcy on the Abuja – Kaduna expressway.
He called on parents, guardians, and community leaders in the area to caution their children/wards against engaging in public disturbance.
Meanwhile, one of the protesters ,who spoke to our reporter, said the police on arriving at the protest scene started shooting into the sky to scare away the protesters.
He said it was the police action that angered the protesters and made them to attack the police station.
” They started shooting but we are not afraid. People related to me have been kidnapped, so whatever the police say we will not stop untill they stop kidnapping us,” the protester said.
The protesters had blocked the Kaduna-Abuja highway at Gauraka, Tafa, Niger State on Monday to protest against incessant kidnappings by bandits in communities along the highway.
The protest caused heavy traffic congestion on the road with travellers appealing to the youth to allow them continue their journies.
A transport service provider, Musa Sani, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES, said there was heavy traffic due to the protest.
“Vehicles have to take a diversion through Jere to get to Abuja and some that are going further will pass through Abuja town.”
According to Mr Musa, the police have arrived at the scene and were talking to the youth, while vehicles are being allowed to continue their journies.
About 12 persons, mostly males, were reportedly abducted on Thursday by gunmen in Madalla, a major commercial town in Niger State near the Federal Capital Territory.
According to residents and a police officer who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES on Friday, the gunmen had stormed Kwankashe, a community along the Suleja expressway on Thursday morning.
A resident, who preferred not to be named for security concerns, said about 12 persons had been confirmed missing while one person was killed on the spot before the bandits took away his wife.
The Kaduna- Abuja road is notorious for kidnappings.
17 students of Greenfield University, Kaduna, are still in the captivity of bandits who kidnapped them in April.
The university is located on the Kaduna – Abuja road.
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