In Nigeria's southern Edo state, gunmen using AK-47 rifles have kidnapped more than 30 individuals from a train station, the governor's office announced on Sunday, Jan. 8, The New York Post reported.

The assault is the most recent indication of the rising insecurity that has crept into almost every region of Africa's most populous nation, posing a problem for the government ahead of a presidential election in February.

When passengers waited for a train to Warri, an oil hub in nearby Delta state, around 4 p.m. (1500 GMT), armed herdsmen attacked Tom Ikimi station, according to a statement from the police. The station is some 111 km northeast of the state capital Benin City and close to the border with Anambra state.

According to officials, a few people at the station were shot during the assault.

Chris Osa Nehikhare, the information commissioner for the state of Edo, stated that 32 persons had been abducted, but one had already fled.

He said that the search and rescue operations that were underway involving security personnel made up of both the military and the police along with other individuals were being intensified.

He said, “at the moment, security personnel made up of the military and the police as well as men of the vigilante network and hunters are intensifying search and rescue operations in a reasonable radius to rescue the kidnap victims.”

Chris also expressed his confidence in the rescue operation.

He said, “we are confident that the other victims will be rescued in the coming hours.”

The federal transportation ministry referred to the kidnappings as "utterly barbaric" and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has shut down the station till further notice.

A rail service that connects the capital Abuja with the northern Kaduna state was reopened by the NRC last month, months after gunmen blew up the tracks, abducted dozens of passengers, and killed six persons.

It took until October for the final hostage captured in the March incident to be released. Nigeria is plagued with insecurity, with separatist movements in the southeast, banditry in the northwest, Islamist insurgencies in the northeast, and battles between farmers and herdsmen in the central states.

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Passengers line up wait at a subway station during a free day of public transport in Mexico City, Mexico March 17, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero

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