Fear has enveloped many residents after Boko Haram insurgents struck, killed and abducted several travellers along the Maiduguri-Damaturu in Borno state.
The 133-kilometre highway is the only major road that links Borno to other parts of the country.
The abductions, the latest in a series of attacks on travellers on the key highway, followed an earlier assault on Friday, according to witnesses. Not less than 50 cases of abduction of travellers have occurred along the same highway in 2020 alone.
Witnesses said armed men believed to be insurgents stormed the highway in large numbers and mounted an illegal checkpoint around Auno, barely 23 kilometres to Maiduguri from where they picked their victims.
According to them, travellers in scores of commercial and private-owned vehicles were caught up in the attack.
Multiple sources also confirmed that the insurgents moved from vehicle to vehicle, scrutinising and interviewing passengers, asking non-Muslims and those not dressed like Muslims to step out of the car they were in.
They also warned the travellers against attempting to escape and those who tried to beat a retreat were instantly shot dead, a survivor revealed.