Suspected hoodlums from a nearby creek-dwelling community, have reportedly abducted ten individuals, including four children, from the Isua and Join Karama community in Engenni, Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The women, who were working in their farms to harvest crops ahead of impending heavy rainfall and floods, were targeted by the abductors who crossed the river from Oshobele.
A local source named Ezuwa revealed that this incident has left the villagers and residents in a state of fear and anxiety. He emphasized that this abduction is just one example of the ongoing security challenges facing the community, with concerns raised to the local government chairman and the Akinima police division but no substantial action taken thus far.
“The women went to their farms to harvest crops because of the looming floods. The boys (abductors) had to cross from the neighbouring Oshobele axis to the farm to kidnap them and their children.
“This is just one out of the many that have been going on in the local government. The people have raised concerns to the local government chairman and the police division in Akinima, but nothing has been done so far.”
Ezuwa warned that if not properly handled, the situation could escalate into a communal crisis between Isua and its neighboring community, Oshobele, with tensions already being seen as an “Ekpeye and Engenni issue, Ezuwa said.”
The criminals had reportedly demanded a ransom of N450,000 from the community, labeled as a “security vote,” which was paid last Sunday. Subsequently, the abductors established new guidelines requiring each household to pay N1,500 weekly as a form of “living allowance,” which would be remitted to the criminals.
Ezuwa noted, “The few ones at home were asked to pay a form of living allowance, N450,000 or they would kill everybody in the community.
“Out of fear, they paid the money. They then brought new guidelines for each household to pay N1,500 every week which will be remitted to the criminals. And because of fear nobody can even go outside. We can’t really say where they hail from, but they came through Oshobele, kidnapped these people at Isua and crossed back to Oshobele, which is their hideout.”
Ezuwa lamented the absence of police presence in the community, giving the culprits the boldness to operate. He further urged the Rivers State Government to intervene and ensure the safe release of the abducted women and children.
The spokesperson for the Rivers State Police Command, Grace Iringe-Koko, confirmed the incident and stated that efforts are underway to secure the release of the victims. The Commissioner of Police has reportedly deployed a tactical team to apprehend the kidnappers and bring them to justice.