Police in southeastern Nigeria’s Enugu state have rescued unharmed seven people kidnapped from a forest in the Okpatu community in the Udi local government area of the state.
Police spokesman in the state, Daniel Ndukwe, revealed this in a statement on Wednesday in Enugu.
According to him, state police officers rescued the victims at dawn on Tuesday.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Mr. Ndukwe said that Forest Guard and Neighborhood Watch personnel assisted the police in the rescue operation.
Among those rescued were a couple who reportedly went to pray on a mountain, Mount Calvary, inside the forest in the community of Awhum in the Udi local government area before they were abducted by armed men, according to the police statement.
“They were abducted on June 19 around 6:30 pm while they were praying,” Ndukwe said.
The police spokesman said security surveillance had been set up in the area. “The Command has launched a discreet investigation to uncover the perpetrators,” he said.
Kidnapping for ransom is now one of the dominant crimes in various cities in Nigeria.
Politicians, businessmen, and anyone of good financial worth, including school children, are easy targets.
A photojournalist, Uchenna Nwube, who works at Ebonyi Government House, was kidnapped earlier this month by suspected kidnappers on the Okigwe-Aba-Enugu highway. He was later released, apparently after the payment of a ransom.
In the state of Anambra, still in the southeast, the decapitated body of a former MP was found on Tuesday after he was kidnapped by armed men.
About a month ago, a sitting lawmaker in Anambra was similarly beheaded after he was kidnapped by armed men.
In addition to kidnappings for ransom, southeastern states have been dealing with deadly attacks by gunmen.
The attacks, which the Nigerian government blamed on an outlaw group Biafran Indigenous Peoplethey often target the police and other security agencies.