Pandemonium ensued New Haven Estate, Igbelaju, in the Iba area of Lagos State, after some gunmen in military uniform recently stormed the estate and abducted three landlords.
Two of the landlords were reportedly abducted while going to their workplaces.
It was gathered that in the attack on Saturday, a woman, identified only as Mrs. Nwoche, was abducted from her residence and had yet to be released.
Our correspondent learnt that as residents grappled with the shock, the gunmen on Monday at about 11am, reportedly waylaid two other landlords driving out of the estate and ordered them to the creek at gunpoint.
While one of the victims was identified only as Mr. Chima, the name of the other had yet to be ascertained.
The matter was said to have been reported at the Ojo Police Division, which sent operatives of the Rapid Response Squad, to comb the area.
When PUNCH Metro visited the area on Wednesday, it was gathered that the three landlords had yet to be found.
Although most of the estate residents were unwilling to comment on the incident, a commercial motorcyclist, who gave his name only as Ebuka, showed our correspondent the narrow bushy path through which the gunmen reportedly sneaked into the estate.
He said, “I did not witness the Saturday incident because it was around 9pm and people only heard some gunshots and ran inside their houses. The gunmen went away with a woman who stayed in a luxury apartment. She has yet to return.
“On Monday, the hoodlums came out in the morning. You would think they were soldiers who came to inspect the area. I saw them in military uniform standing near the plank bridge and holding a rifle.
“I was passing by with a passenger, but I saw that one of them held a pump-action rifle. Seconds later, they stopped two men who were driving out of the estate. The men were in different Sport Utility Vehicles, but were behind each other.
“They ordered them to come out and follow them. That was how they led the victims away into the swamp. We have yet to see either of them. Everyone is afraid. We suspect that the hoodlums are the militants who escaped from the military bombardments of the creeks.”
A worker on a building site, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “I was going to the site when I saw the soldiers standing by the bridge. They looked as if they had come to make an arrest.
“No one knew they were kidnappers. The family members of the victims have not been contacted. They are still in the dark. Some residents have fled from the estate for fear of abduction.
“Policemen in three vans came after the incident to patrol the area. They have been patrolling the estate since Monday, but the abducted landlords have yet to return.”
Our correspondent observed an armoured tank belonging to the RRS driving into the swamp as he was leaving the estate.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, confirmed the attack. She said operatives of the command were already on a rescue mission.
She said, “The command received the report that some men in military camouflage came under the guise of making an arrest and whisked away a landlord.
“Effort is on to ensure his release and subsequent arrest of the suspects.”