Residents of Qua’an Pan in the southern senatorial district of Plateau State have raised alarm over what they described as the increasing number of kidnappings taking place in the area.
Residents told Benue/Plateau Chronicle that the kidnappers were taking advantage of a forest area that links the state with Taraba State as well as the ‘abandoned’ Pandam game reserve which is documented as Plateau’s largest forest area.
James Dangwam, a resident of Qua’an Pan, said the kidnappers were using the forest areas as hideouts as victims have told tales of being camped in the forests to await ransom settlement.
Rose Istifanus, who lives in Jos but hails from Namu in Qua’an Pan, said the incessant kidnapping has thwarted their plans to travel home during festivities.
“It will surprise you to know that they now abduct even wheelbarrow pushers to force the owner of the wheelbarrow or the person he is working for into paying ransom,” she said.
Human Right activist and spokesperson for Namu community in Qua’an Pan, Barrister Albert Kopbe, told Benue/Plateau Chronicle that the incident was more predominant within Namu and Kwande districts, adding that the kidnappers also used another forest area that shares boundary with Mambila Plateau in Taraba State.
Barrister Kopbe said presently, three people had been abducted without a trace adding that; “one is a widow abducted in July while the other two are males abducted last week and we are yet to hear anything. We don’t know whether they are alive or dead”.
He called on the state government, security agents and traditional rulers to step up and do the needful on the insecurity in the area.
When contacted, Plateau State Police Command told Benue/Plateau Trust that incidents of kidnapping around Qua’an Pan axis were on the decrease in the last few weeks due to measures put in place by the command.
The command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP Tyopev Terna, said that a number of suspects had been apprehended and would be paraded to the public as soon as investigation into their involvements is completed.