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Gunmen kidnap 32 people from a train station in southern Nigeria

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YAGUA, Nigeria (Reuters) – Gunmen armed with AK-47s have kidnapped more than 30 people from a railway 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 spilled over into every corner of Africa’s most populous country, challenging the government ahead of presidential elections in February.

Police said in a statement that armed herdsmen attacked Tom Ikeme railway station at 4 p.m. (1500 GMT) while passengers were waiting for the train bound for Warri, an oil hub in neighboring Delta state. The station is located approximately 111 km northeast of the state capital, Benin City, and close to the border with Anambra State.

Police said some people at the center were injured in the attack.

Edo State Information Commissioner Chris Osa Nhakhar said the kidnappers had kidnapped 32 people, though one of them had already escaped.

He pointed out that “security men consisting of the army, police, guard network men, and fishermen are currently intensifying search and rescue operations within a reasonable radius to rescue the kidnapped.” “We are confident that more victims will be rescued in the coming hours,” he added.

The Nigerian Railways has closed the station until further notice and the Federal Ministry of Transport has called the kidnappings “completely barbaric”.

Last month, the Norwegian Refugee Council reopened a train service linking the capital, Abuja, to the northern state of Kaduna, months after gunmen bombed the railways, kidnapping dozens of passengers and killing six people.

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

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

(TV Alabi report). Additional reporting by Felix Onuah in Abuja and Ghorba Mohamed in Kaduna; Editing by David Holmes

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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