Unknown gunmen have abducted 18 traders travelling from Pandogari to Bassa in the Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.

The traders were said to be travelling to attend the village market, which holds fortnightly, on Saturday.

A trader, who narrowly escaped the abduction, narrated how the incident happened to Northern City News in Minna on Tuesday.

The trader, who pleaded anonymity, said his colleagues were travelling in an 18-seater bus when they ran into a roadblock mounted by the hoodlums.

According to him, the gunmen shot randomly into the air to scare the driver and force him to stop.

As soon as the vehicle carrying the traders stopped, the occupants of the bus were forced at gunpoint to abandon the bus and join another bus which was driven into the bush.

The eyewitness claimed that the driver of the vehicle he was travelling in had to stop a short distance away from the scene from where he watched the incident unfold.

“This incident has now become a regular issue and no one is doing anything about it,” he added

It was gathered that the gunmen collected the mobile telephones of their victims and had been using the same to call the victims’ family members to demand ransom for the release of the captives.

The kidnappers were said to be demanding amounts ranging from N200,000 to N500,000 for the release of each of the traders.