Taraba: 15 passengers missing as gunmen attack bus

From Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo

At least fifteen passengers, including women and children are reportedly missing in an attack on an 18 seater bus that loaded passengers from Zaki Biam in Benue State to Maihula in Bali local government area of Taraba State on Tuesday.

Hon Ezra Voka, the chairman of Doonga Local Government Council, where the attack took place, confirmed the incident to Journalists on phone, but could not provide details as he said he was already in the nearby forest in search for the victims.

“Please, my friend, I am already in the bush in search for the missing people, we can’t talk much now till when I get more information from here,” Voka stated.

Our correspondent gathered that the heavily armed men suspected to be members of Vigilante Group, attack the bus at Gamkwe village, located at Maraban-Baisa in Donga local government area of the state while the bus was heading to its destination in Bali Local Government Area of the state.

The driver of the bus,Mr Mpuuga Mbaave, who escaped the scene of the incident with machete wounds, told reporters on phone that the vigilantes were armed with guns, machetes and other light arms.

“I loaded 18 passengers from Zaki Biam, and was heading to Maihula, in Bali. Immediately after Maraba, I saw many people in Vigilante uniforms, they were many, I suspected something was wrong, I then stopped, one of the villagers told me that I should go, two members of the Vigilante Group were killed by kidnappers that is why they gathered, there is no problem I should proceed.

“As I moved closer, some of the Vigilante Group started shouting, kill all of them, is their people that killed our members, they started attacking the passengers and cutting them with machetes.

“They removed all of us, forced us to lie and facedown, my bus was still on, when I discovered that it was getting out of hand, I decided to jump up to the bus and left the passengers, my conductor also followed me, all of us were cut with machetes and blood was rushing out of our bodies, that was how we escaped and left the passengers in their hands,” Mpuuga revealed.

Taraba police spokesman SP Usman Abdullahi could not be reached for comment at the time of this report.

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