Police spokesman Sunday Abutu, who confirmed the incident to reporters in Ado-Ekiti on Friday, said the gunmen abducted three people during the clash.
Mr. Abutu said the combined army and police forces rescued six other captives of the gunmen.
“The information we heard was that four people had been abducted.
“Security guards reacted quickly to the situation and rescued six people.
“We have opened an investigation and we will try to ensure that the abducted people are returned safe and sound,” he said.
Although soldiers foiled kidnapping attempts in both communities, three commuters were later picked up by the gunmen as they escaped into the bush.
NAN also found that the abductees were being held in Ayedun-Ekiti, a town near Ayebode-Ekiti where soldiers previously failed a kidnapping attempt.
Thursday’s incident, which eyewitnesses said happened around 10 a.m., resulted in the Ayedun-Ilasa-Ayebode highway deserting for several hours.
An eyewitness, also a victim, told reporters in Ado Ekiti that the soldiers attacked the gunmen at two different locations – Ayebode and Ilasa and chased them into the bush to make sure their operations were not successful.
According to the source, three passengers traveling from Ayedun-Ekiti to Ilasa-Ekiti were not so fortunate as the gunmen retrieved them after escaping the soldiers.
The source added that those who were killed were driving along the Ayebode-Ilasa road when the gunmen started shooting.
“Those who escaped quickly called the nearby military post and the troops responded quickly.
“Two of the occupants of a vehicle that forcibly escaped were hit by bullets and suffered broken legs, while their car was riddled with bullets.
“The soldiers managed to chase the kidnappers into the bush, but I don’t think they were able to apprehend any of them,” the source said.
The shootout between soldiers and gunmen reportedly forced motorists to quickly detour to avoid being hit by bullets.
“It was sporadic shootings for a few minutes as the soldiers hired the kidnappers.
“The soldiers acted valiantly, but the kidnappers fled into the bush through a secondary school in Ilasa.
“I think another gang surfaced on the Ayedun-Ilasa road and kidnapped three people as they fled into the bush,” the eyewitness said.
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