Gunmen armed with AK-47 rifles abducted at least 32 people from a train station in Nigeria’s southern Edo state, the governor’s office said on Sunday
The victims were mainly people waiting to board a train from Igueben to Warri in neighbouring Delta state.
Reports say the gunmen had shot sporadically into the air during the attack on Saturday evening before seizing the hostages and taking them into a nearby forest.
In a statement, state spokesperson Chris Osa Nehikhare says the train station has been closed as security forces and local hunters search for the hostages.
Eyewitnesses say some of those who escaped from the attackers sustained bullet wounds. The gunmen are also said to have released two children.
A woman with a baby also reportedly escaped from the attackers and found her way to a neighbouring community where she was rescued.
The incident comes as Nigeria prepares for next month’s general elections where rising insecurity has become a big campaign topic.
Last month, the rail service between the capital, Abuja, and the northern city of Kaduna resumed operations after being closed for nine months.
It followed an audacious hijacking of a high-speed train that left at least eight passengers dead and dozens of others kidnapped. The hostages were released months later.