We’ll starve schoolboys to death – Niger abductors

Abductors of the 27 students and 15 workers of Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State, have threatened to starve them to death if the ransom they are demanding is not paid on time.

One of the abductors stated this in an audio recording made available to one of our correspondents on Wednesday by a prominent Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi.

In the audio recording, the abductor, who spoke in Hausa, was heard conversing with a negotiator, identified by Gumi as a top official of the school.

He rejected N2.7m offered him as ransom for the 27 abductees.

The bandit stated, “I don’t have food for them. If anybody dies among them, we will tell you where to go and pick the corpse.

“You know these children are hungry. I don’t have food to give them, only water if they are going to die, let them die.”

The negotiator said it would be difficult for him to get the phone numbers of all the parents as requested by the bandits.

The bandit responded that he was aware that many security agents and vehicles had been deployed in Kagara, vowing they would not succeed in rescuing the abductees.

He asked, “You think I don’t know what you people are doing? I can tell you how many security vehicles are in Kagara as we speak.

“It is with the help of the people of the city that intruders can overrun the city. Don’t you know that? The person who gave us this business is there among you. He is there with you. Wherever you go, he is watching you. If you want to do this deal, go ahead. From God we come and to him we will return

“Even if you put together the entire security forces of Nigeria in Kagara, I have eyes all over Kagara. Whichever step you take in Nigeria, I swear, I will know. You people are saying they should not pay us, that if they pay us, we will use to money to buy weapons.With whose money did we buy our weapons? If we don’t have weapons, you will just send security agents to kill us and take the children.”

Appealing to the bandit, the negotiator stated, “They (parents) have agreed to pay N2.7m. Each parent will pay N100,000 .”

But the abductor rejected the offer threatening to unleash terror on Kagara.

The abductor stated, “If I want Kagara to be in peace, it will be in peace. If it is not going to be in peace, it will go in pieces from here until Ilorin. If I die in this process, I have children that I have instructed that if I die that I don’t want Kagara to be peaceful if you don’t do as I say. Even if I die, nobody will come into Kagara.”

He also berated governors, who said they should not be paid ransom.

He added, “Governors are saying we should not be given money because we are going to use it to buy guns; guns that Allah provides and you are boasting about.

Niger won’t know peace until it disbands vigilantes, abductor vows

“In all of your (Niger State) madness, you are not up to Zamfara. It was compelled to accept our terms and talk less of small fries like you. You see, if you want to seek peace, seek peace and if you don’t stop the activities of vigilantes in Niger you will not know peace forever.”

“Your deploying security officials in Kagara is a waste of time. Is there a fence in this forest? You know we are not in the cities, we are in the forest.”

Appealing to the bandit further, the negotiator stated, “I pray that you assist me the way Allah has helped you. In fact, one of the parents has been on admission in hospital since the abduction.”

Gumi, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said efforts were being intensified to identify the group holding the victims.

He said he had an audio recording of a conversation between the abductors and a top official of the school.

Gumi stated, “There is a crisis really. The abductor is saying he cannot feed the victims and he’s demanding money. He’s saying the money (they are offering) is too small for him.”

Asked on what happened to the negotiation between the bandits and the government, the cleric said, “There was never any negotiation. The bandits we met said they knew the group that took the bus (which carried the victims), but they did not know the ones who took the children. They said they would investigate and call us.”

Efforts to get the state government’s reaction to the audio recording on the negotiation did not succeed as the Commissioner for Information, Sani Idris, did not pick calls to his telephone nor responded to an SMS sent to him.

Related posts

Minna Bus Kidnap: Our close shave with death— Victims

By Wole Mosadomi

The victims of Minna kidnap saga bear nasty tales! And the tales are many and varied: Some can wrench the mind and melt stony hearts. As they breathed the air of freedom after nearly a week in captivity, they were indeed a pathetic sight.

With dusty heads and wrinkled visage, they could barely speak as all their energy had been sapped by the traumatic experience unleashed on them by their captors, popularly known as bandits.

They were on their way from Kontagora to Minna, the state capital when they were captured about two weeks ago and taken into the forest until ransom was negotiated and paid for their release.

Narrating their story, it is obvious that they may never forget their ordeal in a long while; it is a painful experience that may haunt them for the rest of their lives. Indeed, even after their release, these unfortunate victims of the Niger State Transport Authority, NSTA, are yet to comprehend the fate that befell them when their journey was abruptly terminated by gunmen who proceeded to inflict pain, tears and agony on them.

It was supposed to be another routine trip for the 60 passengers in the luxury bus that was to convey them to their destination. Made up of men, women and children, some of them were on their way to a wedding, while others were going for a burial.

There was no premonition that their journey would be ill-fated one.  But barely an hour later when they were close to the Zungeru Bridge, the evil men, all armed to the teeth, struck like demons from hell and ended their joy. They flooded the highway and forced the doors of the bus open and descended on the occupants. And that was the beginning of their misery.

The heartless bandits did not care about the nursing mothers and their babies as well as pregnant women among their victims. All in the bus were dealt with mercilessly and threatened with death if they failed to cooperate with them. One of them women lost her three months pregnancy in the process as she could hardly cope with the harsh conditions and brutality unleashed on them inside the bush.

Bitter experiences:  Most of the victims said they were convinced the bandits wanted to kill them on the third day of their captivity as the ransom they asked for failed to arrive. This was after the hoodlums had collected all the cash, phones and all other valuables they found on their victims.

One of them, Mohammed Ndagi, who is a civil servant with the state government, said: “We were a few metres to the Zungeru Bridge when the bandits jumped from the bush into the road and forced the driver to open the doors and marched us group by group into the bush.

We trekked for three days: “We trekked for several kilometres and they asked us to wait under a mango tree. They went back to escort others to the same spot. There were motorcycles already parked at a distance from the highway but the motorcycles were only used to ferry the women and children to their final destination, which was in the thick forest.

We the men were forced to trek several kilometres before getting to the designated spot. The journey took us three days, trekking day and night, though we were allowed to rest intermittently.

No water to drink for days:  “There was no food or water for the first three days and some of us nearly gave up the ghost as we were tired. They beat us mercilessly and inflicted serious injuries on us.

They almost killed me because of my Yoruba tribal marks—woman

A caterer, Mrs. Oyerinde, said she was engaged by the bereaved family to cook for the invited guests at the burial in Rijau. But that was not to be as she was kidnapped with others during the ill-fated journey. “The bandits separated us the women and children from the men and carried us on their waiting motorcycles batch by batch to their first stopover.

“For the men, they were made to trek the same long-distance along with some cows which the kidnappers had rustled from different villages. For the first day, there was no food or water and we slept on the rock in the very harsh weather.


“Children were crying everywhere and nobody could give them any attention. The second day, we started another journey to another unknown destination as we were ferried on motorcycles while the men also trekked again.”

Mrs. Oyerinde said the bandits for the first time asked if they would want to take tea and that out of joy, most of them, including the men and children chorused loudly in affirmation, not knowing that their own tea was lashes of cane and that this led to severe beating by the bandits, with the men suffering the worst of it.

“They later served us cooked rice without pepper, seasoning or salt. Though each of us got portions of between one and two spoons we were happy because we were almost dying of hunger having not taken any food for days.

“Some of the women broke into uncontrollable weeping and mourning as the small quantity of rice could not go round. In my case, my tribal mark gave me out  as a Yoruba woman among the rest and they started threatening me with gun and I broke down, crying. They wanted to kill me because of my tribe and I lost hope at that point.”

My saddest days in life so far—Adamu

An immigration Officer,  Adamu,  in his own account,  described the unfortunate episode as the most traumatic and saddest days of his life as he was kidnapped along with three of his kids.

“We were ordered to cook by ourselves. We cooked only rice without the basic ingredients like salt and other form of seasoning. They only sprinkled it with drops of palm oil. For water, we were only provided a bottle for about 10 persons.

“The water was drawn from any available pond or stream. This is the same water they and their animals drink and we were also forced to take it and did not complain since there was no other option.

“For the children, they used to bring out a few pieces of Kulikuli and biscuits and share to them whenever they cried for food even though the quantity was not enough to satisfy them.”

Pointing to his three kids, Adamu was overcome with emotions as he said: “If not for God, my life and that of these my children would have been wasted, leaving my wife and the last kid at home alone.”

The post Minna Bus Kidnap: Our close shave with death— Victims appeared first on Vanguard News.

Related posts