Gunmen kidnap 32 people from train station in southern Nigeria

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Gunmen armed with AK-47 rifles abducted more than 30 people from a train station in Nigeria’s southern state of Edo, the governor’s office said on Sunday.

The attack is the latest example of the growing insecurity that has spread to nearly every corner of Africa’s most populous country, posing a challenge to the government ahead of February’s presidential election.

Police said in a statement that armed herders attacked Tom Ikimi station at 4pm (1500 GMT) as passengers waited for a train to Warri, an oil hub in the nearby state of Delta. The station is located about 111 km northeast of the capital Benin City and close to the border with Anambra State.

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Some people at the station were shot during the attack, police said.

Edo state information commissioner Chris Osa Nehikhare said the kidnappers had taken 32 people, although one had already escaped.

“Currently, security personnel, consisting of the military and police, as well as men from the vigilante network and hunters, are stepping up search and rescue operations in a reasonable radius to rescue the abduction victims,” ​​he said. “We are confident that the other victims will be rescued in the coming hours.”

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The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) had closed the station until further notice and the federal transport ministry called the kidnappings “completely barbaric”.

The NRC last month reopened a train service between the capital Abuja and the northern state of Kaduna, months after gunmen blew up the rails, kidnapped dozens of passengers and killed six people.

The last hostage taken in that attack in March was not released until October.

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Insecurity is rampant across Nigeria, with Islamist insurgencies in the northeast, banditry in the northwest, separatists in the southeast and clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the central states.

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