Community denies soldiers rescued kidnapped victims, says we paid over N20m ransom
“The ONLY role played by the military was meeting the bandits in a pre – arranged rendezvous for a formal ‘handing over of the captive’s for onward submission to us in a bizarre manner that was still confusing to us.
Residents of Guga in Bakori local government area of Katsina State have faulted a claim by the Nigerian Army that it rescued 36 people from the community kidnapped by bandits.
BBC Hausa Service had reported that soldiers rescued the victims after a gun battle.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how bandits stormed the community on February 7 and abducted 36 people including the village head, Alhaji Ummaru.
Ten other people were also killed during the attack that lasted several hours.
They were, however, released after a month, following the payment of N26 million as ransom by the community.
According to an in-law of the village head, Nafiu Muhammadu, the bandits had reached out to the family two days after the abduction and demanded a N30m ransom.
“They were negotiating with the village head’s junior brother and some elders in the community. But when they were informed that the sum mentioned was impossible, they promised to discuss with their leader and revert, which they did after three days,” he said.
We contributed money
Speaking in a statement on behalf of the community, Mahadi Dan – Binta, said people of the village and other well-meaning people contributed the money for the release of their relatives.
He said the news story of the gun battle between bandits and soldiers was reported by the BBC Hausa in its morning bulletin on the 25 March, 2022.
“I wish to respectfully refute this statement from the Nigerian Army! The statement was a total misrepresentation, misinformation and untrue! We saw it as a slap to our face and disgraceful to our dignity,” he said.
Mr Dan – Binta added that the people of the village paid the money in two instalments.
His wife and daughter were among those abducted during the invasion.
“The ONLY role played by the military was meeting the bandits in a pre – arranged rendezvous for a formal ‘handing over of the captiveS for onward submission to us in a bizarre manner that was still confusing to us.
“After collecting the second instalment of N11,000,000:00, from us, the bandits armed to the teeth directed us to go to either Faskari or ‘Yankara to await further directives (this was after showing us the victims to assure/convinced us of fulfilling their part of the bargain).
“It was later around 5:00 PM that I received a call from an unknown cellphone number.
The caller identified himself as a Military Officer from a Transit/Emergency Barrack from Faskari asking if I am the Chairman Bakori Local Government to which I answered to be only a community leader. He then informed me; the abducted people from Guga were in their hands and I should come for handing over to the community,” he added.
Mr Dan – Binta, however, said he respects the Nigerian Army and doesn’t wish to ridicule their efforts in fighting bandits.
“My wish here is far away from ridiculing our gallant soldiers but to bring out the fact for public’s consumption and vindicate the people of Guga that negotiated the release of the abducted people on a price,” he said.
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