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Kidnap Victim

17.01.2022 news ‘Soldiers Asked Me to Cooperate With Bandits’ — Man Narrates Kidnap Experience

Published 17th Jan, 2022

By Emmanuel Uti

Micah (not real name), a student at the University of Jos (UNIJOS), Plateau State, has detailed how bandits abducted and tortured him until his family paid a N2.5 million ransom. 

He told FIJ he was traveling to Jos from Kaduna in a private car, alongside some relatives, on January 9, when they met bandits who kidnapped him on Vom Road in Jos.

According to Micah, at 7:15 pm, his elder brother, who drove the car, saw a Sharon vehicle with passengers and followed its trail to avoid the many potholes on the road.

A few minutes later, Joel said he saw some men come out of the bush. They flashed their torchlight at the commercial vehicle before them. Micah thought they were security men.

However, when they approached him and he saw none of them in uniform belonging to a security agency, he sensed a disaster.

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 “The men tried to stop the Sharon vehicle in front of us. I sensed they were kidnappers, and I told my brother to reverse. Immediately, the vehicle ahead of us reversed and hit us in a bid to escape. That made us lose our balance,” Micah told FIJ.

“I told my brother to reverse immediately, but he was a bit late because he panicked. As we tried to reverse, one of the Fulani guys carried a stick and hit my brother on the left side of his eye. He lost his balance on the spot.”

Micah said since his brother had lost balance, he reversed with one eye open while blood gushed out of his head, but somehow, the car fell into a ditch.

“Immediately, they rushed our vehicle. I came out to run. They were fully armed. I saw a swampy place by the roadside and I hid there. I thought they would not find me. But they did. There were 11 men. They dragged me back to where the vehicle was,” he said.

Upon seeing how the bandits dragged him, his elder brother, according to Micah, came out from where he hid. Then the men took them to where the car fell, opened the boot and ransacked it.

READ ALSO: MEMOIRS OF CARNAGE: Names, Photos, Videos… How Nigerian Soldiers Massacred over 50 Villagers in Benue

“We told them to take anything they saw but spare us, yet they refused. They collected our phones, laptops, and clothes. Then they took me and my niece away. Meanwhile, they hit my brother and thought he was dead, so they ignored him. I pleaded with them to free my niece,” he said.

Next, he said the bandits ordered him to put on some shoes and take off the flip-flop he wore. Then they beat him and his niece as they advanced into the bush. Again, he pleaded with them to let his niece go, and they let her go while they dragged him into the bush.

MICAH’S JOURNEY INTO THE BANDITS’ CAVE

“One kilometre into the bush, they asked if I was a Christian or a Muslim. When I told them I was a Christian, they said in the Fulani Language that I had met my doom. They said they let my niece go because she would slow them down as the terrain in the forest was rough,” he said.

Micah said the bush had valleys and rocks, and the kidnappers would not stop beating him as they climbed.

“I almost fell down a cliff, but they said if I fell, they would sell my vital organs to the people who needed them. They said my life was in my hands, saying if I liked it, I should fall and die,” he said.

Micah said they walked till about 4 am and left him in a cave. Minutes after they left him, he said he ran out to tell the men partying outside that he heard a movement in the cave.

According to him, the men came in with their guns and discovered a snake. They killed it, then tied his hands behind his back and threw him inside the cave, which is on Hawan Kibo Mountain.

READ ALSO: INVESTIGATION: From Enugu to Anambra, the Terror of Bandits, Herdsmen, ESN

At dawn, Micah said, the men quizzed him about his profession and the financial strength of his family. He said the bandits asked him who he could call to save him.

BANDITS DEMAND RANSOM

“I told them I could call my uncle, who teaches at the University of Jos. I called him with their phone but he didn’t pick it up as it was early. I dialled my elder brother’s number and he picked it up. They demanded N10 million as ransom. They gave him from that morning till 10 am to come up with something substantia. If not, they said, they would kill me and sell my organs,” he said.

“My brother called back to negotiate the ransom with them. They gave him till 4 pm to come. During the negotiation, they would call one man, I think, their boss, to confirm if the money being negotiated made sense.”

In the cave, Micah said he saw human bones. He asked the bandits what happened to them. They said it was their families that killed them. When he asked how, they said their families did not pay their ransoms, and they died of hunger.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Gunmen Kidnap Another Traditional Ruler in Plateau

He said after they agreed on a price with his brother; they directed him from UNIJOS to where they would meet him. The bandits did not give Micah food or water, but they told his family they did.

He said his brother trekked for about five kilometres before he got to where they were. When he came, they searched him and checked his phone to see if he had communicated with anyone.

“I noticed that the Fulani people with cows gave them signals. When they met my brother, they counted the money and checked if it was complete. And when it was, they signalled to some people to bring me to my brother,” he said.

“When I saw my brother, they begged the two of us, saying we should pray for them as they wanted to leave the business. We trekked back to the road. We met soldiers by the roadside and we explained what happened, but they said we should thank God I was alive, saying we should cooperate with the kidnappers. But we told them everything was over as I was out.”

When FIJ contacted ASP Ubah Ogaba, Jos police spokesperson, he said he had not confirmed the incident.

Published 17th Jan, 2022

By Emmanuel Uti

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