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Kidnappers yet to contact families of abducted persons in Abuja


Nicholas Kalu, Abuja

Families of those who were abducted by unknown gunmen Tunga Maje, a community on the fringes of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, on Thursday, say they are yet to hear from the kidnappers, The Nation gathered on Saturday.

This is as the police is intensifying efforts to ensure the safe release of the victims.

The community was raided by unknown gunmen who came from bushy mountains around nearby, around midnight, and abducted several persons while they still slept in their homes.

Some of them were rescued by the intervention of the police, but the kidnappers still made away with five persons from the community.

This incident came just days after tension was heightened in the city over a leaked memo from the Customs that suggested that Boko Haram was setting up camps in the FCT and planning to carry out attacks.

Residents of the community said the gunmen had operated as if they were in no hurry and it was the intervention of the police that prevented them from abducting more people.

According to the residents, the invaders seemed surprised when policemen came into the community and hurriedly left with the people they had gathered through the mountains.

Residents, who houses were invaded said the gunmen were demanding for money and phones as they turned their houses upside down frantically searching for anything of value they could lay their hands on.

Some of them said the gunmen were so relaxed that they were eating and drinking from their kitchen as they operated.

Some persons who were abducted that Thursday including a pregnant woman were were rescued by the intervention of the police.

Mrs Eze Nkeiruka, the tearful mother of a 17- year old girl, Eze Judith, who was also abducted said they have not heard from the kidnappers since.

She begged that relevant authorities do everything possible to ensure the safe rescue of her daughter, who is a first year student of Agriculture in the University of Abuja.

Olaiya Mike, whose 17-year old in-law, a girl, was also abducted said the same.

Mrs Florence Augustine was abducted with her husband and 14 year old son. She was released along with her husband but their son was taken away.

The woman who was crying as she spoke said she was released when she did not have the strength to walk on their street and her husband was released in the bush and told to get N10 million as ransom for their child.

But she said she is yet to hear from them since then also.

Her son in-law, Enebe Sunday Aminu, said “ when my mother in-law said she cannot walk, they left her to go back. They walked more than four kilometers into the bush where they released the husband and asked him to go back and bring back money. They asked for N10 million.”

Mr Frank Ovbiyedanen whose wife and three children (two sons and a daughter) were abducted was in agony. His wife and two little children were however rescued but his 14-year old son was taken.

He also said he was yet to hear from the kidnappers.

“Since I was born I never exprenced such. They took my wife and three kids and later released my wife and son and daughter in the bush. They left with my 14 year old son.

“We don’t have any money. Government should do something to rescue my son. Government should do something about insecurity. The insecurity is so high. Something should be done,” he said.

READ ALSO: Kidnappers shoot NTA staff on Kaduna-Abuja highway

They all pleaded whatever can be done should be done to ensure their relatives come back home in good condition.

Another resident of the community who did not want to be named, recalling the incident, narrated, “I was looking through my window when I heard the disturbance. I heard people speaking. The next thing I heard was the breaking of my neighboour’s house and they entered. Then the man, who is the landlord, started shouting They carried him. Then they also broke into another neighbour’s house. A woman was shouting and crying. I heard gunshots. Before then while I was still peeping and hoping they would go away they came to my wife’s shop and broke into it and carried her items.

“They took a woman’s grown up daughter away. They took away the son of another neighborhood. Then they took a man and his daughter.

“The Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS)came and that is why they stopped. They were ready to go from door to door. It was the police that stopped them. They used the people they kidnapped to carry the goods that my wife was selling.

“Then the police and vigilante went after them and were able to rescue some of those they kidnapped.

“About six of them are yet to return and there has been no communication and no knowledge of their whereabouts since.

“We don’t know what is going on. These were not petty thieves. They were terrorists. We are traumatised. The vigilante did their best but it was a helpless situation given the kind of fire power the invaders had.

“The criminals were operating confidently and they were not in a hurry. Right now, we the people are living in fear. Nobody knows when this kind of thing will happen again. We have never witnessed such situation before. We have had petty thieves but not ever had such traumatizing experience. Not this type a human is taken from their bed when they are sleeping. Fortunately, no life was lost but property was destroyed.

“They were ready to carry as many people as possible if not the police that intervened.

If a group of people with heavy firearms, the kind that we saw them carry, stormed a community and carry this number of people then are they not terrorists. The community was terrorised.”

According to a statement by the FCT Police spokesman, DSP Anjuguri Manzah, the police responded swiftly after receiving the distress call on the incident and engaged the gunmen in a gun battle, after which five of those abducted were rescued.

Manzah said efforts were still on to rescue the remaining five.

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