Some of the atrocities committed by kidnappers along the Kaduna – Abuja highway have come to light.
LEADERSHIP Weekend learnt that some of the kidnappers always killed any victim who could not walk for long hours.
It was also gathered that the kidnappers do not waste their bullets on their civilian victims, but reserved them for security agents..
According to a victim, after a hostage taking raid, the kidnappers, in different groups, just like shepherds, move with them from one point to another, crossing different states. However, they will return to the point of the kidnap once ransom is negotiated.
It was gathered that along the Abuja Kaduna highway, the kidnappers move victims in the bushes sharing boundaries with Kaduna, Niger, Zamfara and Katsina states in a matter of days.
In these bushes, the kidnappers have established camps built with local bricks. It is in these huts they live, hold and abuse their captives. And they kill them routinely, I was learnt.
Joseph Danladi is one lucky victim who lives to tell the story. His release was secured last Sunday following the payment of ransom after one week of trekking barefoot in the bush.
Joseph cried for four days in his hospital bed before he was able to speak with LEADERSHIP Weekend following the ordeal he went through in captivity.
During their kidnap around Rijana area, close to Olam Farm, a company located in Chikun local government area of Kaduna State penultimate Monday, three policemen in a Hilux van at the other side of the road were gunned down by the kidnappers who immediately remove the uniforms of the security personnel and wore them.
One of the victims taken from the Hilux vehicle was later shot dead by the kidnappers, who insisted that the middle-aged man was a security agent.
“They don’t waste bullets on a civilian. Once you can’t trek, they slaughter you like a ram,” Danladi said, adding that the kidnappers said they reserved the bullets for security personnel.
According to him, a woman with a newly born baby bled for the whole five days Danladi was at the camp as a result of excessive walking. The blood rushing from her private part could not stop the kidnappers from making attempts at raping her in a separate hut erected for that purpose until their superior decided she was smelly.
“I was coming back from Abuja but immediately we reached Rijana, close to that Olam Farms, at around 5pm, one of them asked us to park. The double lane was blocked.
“They shot three policemen from the other lane and another woman who attempted to run. They moved us with other people from the other side of the road. We were 15, the kidnappers were 16 and all of them were fully armed.
“They moved us to the bush, checked our bags, took all our phones and money. They switched off all the phones, removed the SIM cards. Phones without in-built battery had it removed.
“We continued trekking to a hill. It was around 7pm and we slept there until the following day. Around 6am, we continued the journey. When we reached a certain place where people cutting timber were working, they asked us to wait there. They went to a farm, got some corn cobs and roasted. They gave one corn to three people to eat. We drank water from a stream and continued the journey,” Danladi said, adding that the kidnappers collected all their shoes, making them walk barefooted for days.
“When we saw a train coming, they asked us to lie down. We spent three days walking without knowing were we were heading to. One of them at a point said we were now in Niger State.
“They took us to one of theirs camps. In that place, there are different victims and each of the kidnappers know their own. We will sleep there at night; in the morning, they will move us to another place close to a town.
“If they cook food, they will eat but won’t give us; instead, they will say that they were supposed to waste us. They killed one woman and a man at one of the camps. If we are trekking, once they realise you can’t walk, they will slaughter you.
“If they want to give us food, they will cook their rice with oil, meat and everything but our own, they won’t even put salt in it give it. The only time we drank clean water was when the rain fell, then they give us cans to get the water.”
“One woman with a newly born baby, we were the ones helping to carry the baby because the woman was tired and was always bleeding.
“They wanted to rape the woman and we were begging them to stop. They took her to a separate hut until their boss said she was smelly, that they should leave her. After some days, they brought another woman and a girl. Amongst us, there was a Fulani man who hears what the kidnappers were saying and told us that they said they were supposed to waste many of us so that the number will reduce,” Danladi said.
According to him, before he was told the amount to pay, the kidnappers were always searching for pictures and other details on their mobile phones.
“Since I used one of my fingers to switch on the phone, whenever they wanted to search it, the kidnappers brought a plier, that they will cut the finger to enable them to switch on the phone each time they wanted. I told them it won’t work if they cut my finger because it uses blood.
“The picture I snapped when I went to work in Abuja attracted them. They asked if I owned the house, I said no. They said I should call the owner to come. They said I have money, that I should pay N5 million. I told them I didn’t have. They asked how much I will pay. I said I don’t have anything. They continued beating me. Later, they asked me to call my Oga and he said I should not worry that they were gathering money,” Danladi said.
He continued: “There was another man with Mecca-like teeth who was going to Zaria. They said he should pay N5 million , that he also have money. They give different prices to different people based on their estimation.
“On Friday (last week) evening, we started another journey coming back since they were in contact with our relatives. They said my contact should meet their contact in Rigasa, by Bakin Ruwa in Kaduna State.
“The Baba with Mecca-like teeth said his people have donated N150,000 on my behalf, that if my people can bring something, they can add. Apart from that, another person had given N100,000 on my behalf but I had no access to a phone to tell my people. The kidnappers still collected all that my family gathered, “ he said.
“On Saturday when they brought us close to a village near Kabala, we slept there again until Sunday. They said people whose ransom were not paid, that they were taking them to Zamfara State. Eleven of us were released after ransom was paid. They gave eleven of us N5,000 each, saying that if we walk to one community, we should take a bike from there.
“When we reached one village occupied by Gbagyi and Hausa people, they asked us what happened and we told them. The head of the village asked us to wait. He gave us water and Masa (a local delicacy) to eat. He said the kidnappers are always attacking his community. We got a bike from there and when we reached a village close to Kabala West, Police stopped us and asked what happened. “We narrated our story and they took our statements, including pictures. One of us from Kakuri called his brother and he came and took us home. I could not walk because, apart from the regular beating, we walked barefooted. When I got home, my younger brother took me to this hospital,” Danladi added.
LEADERSHIP Weekend learnt that some people who went to pay the ransom to the kidnappers were kidnapped again. However, Danladi’s younger brother, Christian Joseph, was lucky to return safely.
Christian told our reporter that if not for the motorcyclist, a Fulani man who spoke to the kidnappers that he would not bring me to them if they are going to harm me, it would have been a different story.
Christian, who narrated how the ransom was delivered, said it took him about an hour to reach the kidnappers’ camp after taking a motorcycle ride from the Rigasa area of Kaduna State to the thick bush without seeing a single cow.
He said the team that collected the money were cunning and kept sending him from one point to another.
According to Christian, he saw young men armed to the teeth as the motorcycle they were riding on passed.
“They first of all called in the evening – that Danladi was with them – and cut the phone. Their number was switched off when we tried to call back. The following day, they did the same thing. There was no call until Thursday. We followed them gradually, talking to them. They were abusing us, saying we are not serious because of the amount we said we have. We didn’t know another person had paid N150,000 while another friend had earlier on paid N100,000.
“They said we should come to Rijana. While I was in Rijana, they said I should come back to Bakin Ruwa, around Rigasa area. They said I should come to railway. I went. They said am I the one with black clothes, I said yes. They said I should climb a bike to Maguzawa.
I said I didn’t know the place but they insisted I should take a bike. At around 9pm, his phone was switched off. I went back home. He called the following day that it was the rain that prevented him from collecting the money, that I should come by 9am. I went, but the bike man refused to take me to Maguzawa.
“I got another bike. He was a Fulani man. I told him what happened, and he said I should call the kidnapper. I called him and they spoke in Fulfulde. He told the kidnapper that if he (motorcyclist) is bringing me for him to humiliate me that he won’t come. The bike man narrated to me how people who take ransom there don’t come back and that he doesn’t want me to face similar fate.
“The old Fulani man took me. On our way, we saw young boys with different kinds of weapons. No cows, because it was a thick bush. When we got there, he refused to collect the money from my hand but asked me to throw it to him, and I did. He counted the money, and asked me to follow a different road back. On my way, I saw a small boy. He was laughing at me. He asked me to follow another route but I said no, insisting it was not the route they asked me to follow. As I passed, the same bike man that took me there came and we went back. When I got home, I saw my brother and took him to the hospital,” Christian concluded.
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