Port Harcourt, Nigeria | AFP | Gunmen kidnapped 19 bus passengers near Nigeria’s southern oil hub, Port Harcourt, police said on Friday, in the latest of a series of abductions in recent weeks.
Rivers state police spokesman Nnamdi Omoni said the attack happened on Thursday and that police had so far managed to rescue 12 of the victims.
“Security operatives are still combing the bush the victims were taken into,” he told reporters.
Kidnapping for ransom has long been a problem in southern Nigeria and has typically targeted prominent individuals or their families.
Victims are usually released after money is paid.
But there have now been at least three attacks against commercial buses in the past four weeks, suggesting sustained economic hardship is making anyone a target.
The latest incident involved an 18-seater bus operated by the state-owned Rivers Mass Transit Company, which had 19 people on board, said Chukwdumebi Lucky, a colleague of the driver.
The bus was travelling from Port Harcourt to Owerri, the capital of neighbouring Imo state, when it was intercepted, he added.
Gunmen previously kidnapped 16 people from a bus on the same road on August 28.
A spokesman for the bus operator said no-one was seriously injured in the latest abduction.