Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan has sent a special police unit to find and rescue dozens of children kidnapped in the southeastern city of Aba. The unit has also been directed to arrest members of the unidentified gang who abducted the children.
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up and the city is on edge as people from neighboring areas move into the town for safety.
There is an uneasy calm as residents wait for authorities to give them news of the children, says Emma Ndukuba, who is covering the story as a reporter with the News Agency of Nigeria.
“Aba is relatively calm and people are apprehensive over the situation of things here. Since the children were abducted…people have been very apprehensive, unlike the past two months, when there was relative peace.”
All the commercial banks in Aba, most of the schools and some shops have closed down indefinitely, says Ndukuba, adding that police are on the streets but their presence has not translated into feelings of safety for the residents.
“They cannot solve the problem because they don’t have communication equipment to reach other officers if a crime occurs. I was in touch with a senior police officer, who said residents are reluctant to give information to the police for fear they will be attacked by the gang.”
A special police force ordered into the city by President Jonathan has yet to make its presence felt in the city, according to Ndukuba.