Godwin Isenyo, Kaduna
Gunmen on Sunday in Kaduna, the Kaduna State capital, abducted a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bagudu Hirse, in front of the residence of a relation of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The incident took place in front of Alhaji Mamman Daura’s residence on Inuwa Wada area at Ungwan-Rimi, Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Daura, it was learnt, was at home with the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, when the kidnappers came fuelling speculation that the abductors might have mistaken Hirse for the former.
The house where Hirse was kidnapped is about 500 metres from Inuwa Wada Road, close to the INEC headquarters in the state capital.
According to a source, the former minister who was said to be in the company of his friend, had gone to pay a condolence visit to the family of the late 18th Sultan of Sokoto, Ibrahim Dasuki, on Kabiru Road.
It learnt that while coming from Dasuki residence, he made a stopover at the house of Mamman Daura, who was said to be home with some visitors and family members.
An eyewitness account said that the kidnappers, said to be wearing mask, accosted the former minister and asked him to enter their car.
Hirse attempted to resist but the kidnappers forced him into the car. This attracted the people around the place to move towards the scene but one of the kidnappers brought out a gun to scare them away.
One eyewitness said, “They asked him to get into their car but he attempted to resist by demanding for explanations from them but when people started approaching the scene, one of them raised up a gun and made an attempt to pull the trigger but it did not respond.
“He tried it the second time and it failed. It was the third time a shot was released into the air and everybody scamper for safety.
“It was after then, they forced him into the car, removed his babariga (flowing gown) and cap and threw them on the ground. They thereafter drove away.”
One of the security guards around the house, who pleaded anonymity, said it was not clear if the gunmen had mistaken Hirse for Daura.
The source added while Hirse was being kidnapped Daura was “inside with other dignitaries like the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari when the kidnappers came.”
Immediately the kidnappers made away with the former minister, Daura was informed of the attack and more security agents were deployed to the house.
An unnamed friend of Hirse, who was reportedly shot by the gunmen, had been taken to an undisclosed hospital in Kaduna for treatment.
The Kaduna State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, ASP Usman Aliyu, confirmed the incident, adding that investigations had started.
The ex-minister’s brother, Chief John Hirse, also confirmed the abduction.
“I got home from church to read the message informing me of the kidnap of my brother, Bagudu, on my phone,” John, a former federal permanent secretary and current District Head of Mangu, in Plateau State, told NAN in Jos.
John said he was expecting further details “on the sad incident.”
“You have to exercise patience and call back later for more information and further developments,” he said.