Abductees Without Ransom WereTied Like Goats And Killed’ – Kidnap Survivor


Fatima, a middle-aged lady was kidnapped on her way from Kano to Abuja and she narrates her experience in the dreaded Kajuru Forest in Kaduna State, where she spent 10 days and was released after her family paid a ransom.

Interview by Abubakar Yakubu

What day and time were you kidnapped?

A few days to Christmas and at about 8pm.

Where were you coming from and at what point or area where you kidnapped?

I was coming from Kano State and the incident happened near Kajuru.

How was the vehicle you were inside stopped?

The vehicle I was travelling in was stopped by about 15 well armed men dressed in military uniform.

Before the kidnapping occurred, did you pass through police or military checkpoints and how close were they to the place the kidnappers struck?

Yes we passed through police checkpoints which were about 15 minutes’ drive from the point we were abducted.

Did the bandits wear face masks, and from their speeches what part of the country were they from and what range are their ages?

At first, they wore face masks but later a few of them removed them and they were discussing like people from Niger Republic. They spoke in Fulani language and their ages were between 18 and above.

During the operation, how many victims were kidnapped along with you, and how long did you people trek before reaching their enclave in the forest?

We were about nine of us in the vehicle and we trekked for about an hour before we reached Kajuru Forest.

While walking in the forest, did you pass through communities or people?

No it was late into the night and we were filled with fear and only obeyed the orders given to us by the bandits.

When you got to the enclave, how many victims where there and did the kidnappers separate the males from the female?

There were about 25 persons tied like animals in the enclaves. Those who proved stubborn or didn’t have a phone or people to contact for ransom were tied like goats, waiting to be killed. What I mean is that both their hands and legs were tied and they lay down waiting to be killed by the kidnappers. For those who agreed to pay, they were tied to trees while the females were separated from the males and treated with a little decorum.

Can you describe how the den looks like and how victims were fed?

The place is surrounded by trees and there are rivers around. They kept changing our positions from one place to another and victims were beaten mercilessly to call their people to bring money.

They fed us once daily with only garri and it was poured in a basin for the victims to eat together. Those whom they knew couldn’t pay ransoms were not given any food to eat until they were killed in the presence of other victims to instill fear so that they will appeal to their relatives to quicken the ransom payment

Did you witness any killings in the place and what led to it?

Yes. They shot two persons dead for trying to escape and about six others were killed for not having anybody to pay their ransoms.

What other touching incident in the enclave can you recall?

There was a nursing mother who fed only on garri once a day and went through hell breastfeeding her baby. The bandits had no feelings for such situations and kept shouting at the woman that if she doesn’t stop her child from yelling they will shoot the baby.

Where you ever summoned to meet the bandit leader and how did he behave?

Yes on the second day of our abduction, he appeared in the enclave and we the new victims were summoned to meet him. My luck was that before meeting him, one of the bandits advised me to agree to whatever he says and to let him know that my family will pay the ransom. The leader appeared ruthless and in a loud voice told me my ransom was N30 million and whether I had someone to pay for me and I said yes. He didn’t beat me.

I also heard the leader tell his men that if they don’t receive money early they should kill all the victims.

How long did you spend with the kidnappers and how were you informed that you will be freed?

I spent ten days and learnt from one of the kidnappers that I will soon be freed.

How much ransom did your family pay and how did you leave the place?

My family paid N20.3 million as ransom and I was told that the person who had the money in a bag was instructed to stay at a particular place, where someone on bike collected the bag and few hours later I was taken by bike to a junction and I contacted my people who came to pick me.

Would you support the idea for people not to pay ransom to kidnappers as being propagated by the federal government?

Those who have spent time in a kidnappers’ enclave will never agree to that notion. If your family refuses to pay ransom, then it means they have sentenced you to death.


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