Bandits suspected to be Boko Haram terrorists have kidnapped an employee of United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Abubakar Idris, and the Secretary-General of National Union of Yobe State Students, Mua’zu Bawa, along Maiduguri/Damaturu road in Borno.
The victims were returning to Maiduguri from Damaturu when they ran into terrorists’ roadblock on Saturday.
About 35 people had been abducted along the same route on December 18, 2020.
Idris is a Senior Protection Assistant (SPA) with UNHCR, before his abduction along with the students’ leader in Yobe.
According to Civilian JTF sources yesterday in Maiduguri, the abduction took place at Matari village, between Jakana and Auno, by 8.30 am.
“The bandits in military uniform attacked our commuters along this road, before setting up their roadblock with three Hilux vans and motorcycles on roadsides,” said a Civilian JTF member.
On how they were abducted, Hamidu Isa, a vigilante member for the Jakana/Mainok axis, said: “While the bandits were searching the passengers, Idris attempted to throw away his identity card; but one of the insurgents sighted him.
“He was then asked to alight from the vehicle along with two other passengers, while the rest passengers were asked to continue with their journey to Maiduguri. The other two passengers were later released because they are poor and would not be useful in Sambisa Forest.”
The Guardian learned that the attacks and abductions had been occurring, despite the presence of the military, crack squad, police, civilian JTF, and hunters on the 132km road.
According to Isa, most of the attacks, last year, occurred along the 40km Maiduguri/Jakana road.
He said they also took advantage of troops’ absence and mounted the roadblock at an unusual location in Mainok, instead of the Garin Kuturu crossing point to Lake Chad region and Sambisa Forest.
The road is in a poor state, as China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) could not complete the 593km Kano/Maiduguri dual carriageway, which was awarded to three contractors by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2005.
In April 2018, bandits torched eight heavy-duty construction machines and bulldozers near Jakana.
Other people abducted on the same road include Emmanuel Peter, a humanitarian aid worker with the World Food Programme (WFP), on December 14, 2020.
Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno recently indicted the army and police for not securing the road for motorists and commuters, alleging that, instead, some of the troops were busy extorting motorists at checkpoints.