By Ikhili Monday EBALU, Benin City
Gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen in the early hours of Thursday swooped on travelers along the busy Benin-Auchi-Okene Highway and kidnapped 15 persons and killed immediate past chairman of Etsako East local government area in Edo state.
The armed men were said to have stopped many of the motorists at the popular Ogbemudia Farm at Iguevbihobo village where they searched all occupants of the vehicles after the victims laid face down on the road.
It was gathered that the former council chairman, Mr. Suleiman Afegbua, a cousin to the All Progressives Congress (APC) State Vice, Malik Afegbua and ex-Special Adviser (SA) on Media to former Governor Adams Oshiomhole, Prince Kassim Afegbua, was said to have attempted to escape from the scene of the attack when the gunmen opened fire at him.
The former council boss was shot and died at the spot while other occupants of the vehicles trapped at the scene were also kidnapped and taken to an unknown location.
It was gathered that the late Afegbua was on his way to Benin when he met his sudden death.
But the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Edo state Police Command, Mr. Moses Nkombe when contacted confirmed the incident but said there was no report of any abduction.
He said the victims were travelling in a convoy when the armed men ambushed them at the spot and shot at them in the process.
He explained that the ex-council chairman died at the spot while two others sustained gunshot injuries but are responding to treatment at an undisclosed hospital in the state capital.
Besides, the PPRO pointed out further that there was no indication that the gunmen were Fulani herdsmen, adding that men of the anti robbery squad of the state command have been detailed to comb the bushes within the troubled area.
According to him, “There was no indication of any abduction and no such indication that they are Fulani herdsmen. Police Tactical Team of the state command, anti robbery squad is on top of the situation and has been deployed to comb the bushes around the area.