He said efforts by local vigilantes who engaged the bandits in a gun battle curtailed the number of victims that would have been abducted.

“This is the first time the community was being attacked but only pockets of kidnapping by locals who took the risk to go to their farm,” Khalid stated.

When contacted, the Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan and the state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Mansir Hassan, did not respond to calls and a text message sent to them by our correspondent as of the time of filing this report.