No fewer than two landlords have been abducted and three women reportedly raped in a renewed onslaught by some gunmen on residents of Ibafo, Ogun State.
PUNCH Metro gathered that suspected militants attacked Gideon village, Oke Cele and Asiwaju communities in Ibafo, unleashing mayhem on residents and carting away property.
Our correspondent was told that the militants demanded N50m for the release of a landlord in Gideon village, identified only as Joel, who was abducted in his house.
It was learnt that before the victim was released, the militants picked another landlord and Joel’s neighbour, identified as Lucas.
Lucas was said to have been abducted in his car and driven to Ebute, where the car was dumped.
He was ferried away in a boat and had since been missing.
The gunmen were reported to have invaded homes and raped married women in front of their helpless husbands.
Our correspondent was told that on Tuesday, the militants burgled at least three houses and carted away goods in Oke Cele.
Residents and community leaders, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, lamented that security agencies could not confront the militants, calling for military bombardment of the creeks.
A resident told PUNCH Metro that the militants usually wrote letters to the communities before attacking them, adding that they moved in groups.
He said, “Before any attack, these militants would write letters and ask residents to prepare for them. When they get to their target community, they move in groups of 30s and 50s. They would go from one house to another, raping young ladies and beating up young men.”
It was learnt that the hoodlums invaded a house in Asiwaju community last Thursday and raped a nursing mother, while her husband was forced to fan them.
A community leader said while Joel was kidnapped on July 9, his neighbour, Lucas, was kidnapped on July 16.
He said, “In Gideon village, two landlords were kidnapped. The first, Mr. Joel, was released on Tuesday after 10 days in captivity. They demanded N50m for his release; I don’t know how much was paid after negotiation.
“Lucas was kidnapped last Saturday. He had not been released since then.”
PUNCH Metro gathered that the militants struck again on Tuesday when they burgled three houses in Oke Cele.
“Ibafo is under siege. A policeman told us that the militants are too powerful for the security agents and only God can deliver us,” a resident said.
A police source told PUNCH Metro that the militants were on the rampage after the clampdown on their pipeline vandalism trade.
He added that they always attacked soft targets whenever they operated.
He said, “Before the Federal Government’s clampdown on the activities of the vandals, they always hobnob with the residents. They eat with them and sleep in their houses. But after their means of survival was blocked, they decided to turn against people in the communities.
“They always look around to see where there is no heavy security presence. They attack and retreat into the creek. And it is difficult for the security agents to reach them in their fortress because of the difficult terrain.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, Ogun State, SP Muyiwa Adejobi, confirmed the kidnap, adding that Joel had been released.
“We are making efforts to increase security presence in the area and to rescue the second victim,” he added.