Militants invade Epe, kidnap farmers, steal poultry, eggs
No fewer than 20 suspected militants in military camouflage have swooped on Kodjo Farm, located at Igbodu, Epe area of Lagos State and abducted seven persons.
One of the victims of the abduction, which took place on Sunday, has been identified as 65 years-old Kakaja Joseph, a guard at the farm.ï¿¼
The others were said to be four poultry workers of the Farm and two travelers who were taken during a second operation in which the attackers blocked a transit road.
Meanwhile, attempts by kidnappers to abduct students of Molajoye Community High School on the assembly ground, were foiled yesterday, by policemen attached to Rapid Response Squad, RRS, Area 'N' Police Command, Navy and Army.
Eyewitnesses claimed that the men stormed the poultry farm at about 8a.m., shooting sporadically and forced their victims into a waiting boat, carting away about 50 live chickens and several eggs.
Armed with sophisticated weapons, the suspected militants allegedly blocked a road along Igbodu, where they engaged law enforcement officers in a gun battle.
A lot of innocent people were said to have run into the bush for safety, where many of them spent the night.
A poultry worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: 'After kidnapping the poultry workers, the gunmen went to Molajoye Expressway and kidnapped two travellers. Some of the occupants of the bus sustained injuries.'
It will be recalled that in September, militants struck at Epe and abducted three female farmers and a six-month-old baby.
The victims were kidnapped on Igbodu Isiwo Road area of Epe, Lagos State.
On November 15, gunmen, allegedly numbering over 40, invaded a farm settlement in Epe, also located on Igbodu-Isiwo Road, Lagos, and abducted four farmers.
The men, dressed in military uniform, came through the river about 10a.m.
On Sunday, they struck again and abducted a security guard, two travellers and four poultry workers.
Mr. Isaiah Joseph, son of the abducted guard, said: 'Since our father was kidnapped, we've been running from pillar to post, to secure his release. When he left home on Saturday, we expected him back on Sunday for church service. We decided to go to the farm to check on him and were told he had been abducted, along with four workers.'
Joseph said the management of the poultry had assured them that they would make efforts to secure his soonest release.
Chief Olaitan Oshodiro, the Alashe of Igbodu, said: 'Those militants, who were dislodged from Arepo, Isawo and some parts of Ogun State, have relocated to our area. We cannot sleep anymore. We're dying of hunger! We cannot go to farm, so as not to be kidnapped. We go to bed by 6:30p.m. these days.'
Mobile Policemen from Mopol 22 and RRS were sighted, yesterday, patrolling the community. Over five RRS vans were also on ground.
Traditional rulers cry out
Chief Oguntayo Abiodun, Baale of Igbodu, said: 'We were still discussing the kidnap of the guard and poultry workers, when we got news about the attempted abduction of Molajoye students.
'On Saturday, there was serious commotion in the community when gunmen confronted men of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, FSARS, in a gun battle. The sporadic shooting lasted for about 29 minutes.'
Reacting to the latest Epe kidnap, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Dolapo Badmus, insisted the story was not true, especially stories being circulated on social media.
She said: 'The command wishes to state that Epe axis and Lagos State, is totally safe. There is no invasion by militants or any other criminal elements on any part of Lagos. The command hereby advises anyone peddling this falsehood to desist or be made answerable to the law.
'Residents of Epe and Lagos at large should disregard this falsehood and carry on their lawful activities, as the command has devised operational strategies to ensure safety of lives and property during this festive season.
'The public should report any suspicious movement through emergency numbers (767 or 112).' Vanguard