LAGOS, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Nigerian air force said on Thursday its troops have rescued 26 people from gunmen on a highway in north Nigeria's Kaduna state on Wednesday.
Edward Gabkwet, a spokesperson for the air force, said in a statement a team of special forces from the air force came across five abandoned vehicles with their doors open while on a fighting patrol along the Birnin Gwari-Kaduna road in the state, which is "an indication of forced removal or evacuation and a likely kidnap scene".
"Acting on instincts, the special forces began exploiting the general scene of the abduction and extended it for about three kilometers, well into the bushes while clearing the general area," Gabkwet said.
Upon sighting the special forces, three victims suddenly came out of the bushes. Further searching by the troops led to the discovery of four different groups of victims hiding in the bushes, he said.
"After a thorough search further into the hinterland, a total of 26 victims were rescued," the spokesperson said.
Gabkwet said the victims were travelling in several vehicles when a large number of bandits in three groups suddenly appeared from the bushes and surrounded their vehicles.
"However, on sighting the special forces, the kidnappers fled into the bushes with a handful of the victims, while the other majority took cover and hid in the bushes until they sighted the special forces," said Gabkwet.
Armed attacks have been a primary security threat in Nigeria's northern and central regions, resulting in deaths and kidnappings.