Terrorists holding more than 30 bridesmaid’s captive in Katsina have threatened to sell off their prisoners if the government does not meet their demand.
TruthNigeria reported that the women along with the newly wed brides were ambushed on their way back from a wedding ceremony on February 1. Three local vigilantes were gunned down as they charged against the terrorists.
In a video shared on X by @PIDOMNIGERIA, the leader of the gang dared the authorities to come to the aid of the women, saying the bride would be married off to one of his fighters if N100 million (US$70652 using naira–USD exchange rate of US$1=N1,445.) is not paid for her freedom.
“I am the one who abducted them, and I will not release them until the ransom we demanded is paid. Anyone who thinks he can rescue them should try,” the terrorist leader, who spoke in Fulfulde, said.
The armed gang refuted local media reports that 53 women were abducted. “Stop lying by saying 53 people were taken. We have 63 people with us here,” said the gang leader. Media reported that approximately 70 women were traveling in the back of a flatbed truck when the abductors attacked. Several women ignored the bandits’ threats and jumped over the side of the flatbed truck and escaped. Confidential sources of TruthNigeria say that one of the 63 persons confined with the women is the truck driver.
The threat poses a major challenge to the Nigerian authorities who have warned Nigerians against paying ransoms to terrorists. “Paying ransom is criminal in Nigeria, according to the provisions of our law,” spokesman of the Nigeria Police Force Olumuyiwa Adejobi said last week.
In 2022, the Nigerian Senate passed a law that punishes families who pay ransoms. The law amends an existing Act and makes it illegal to pay money for the “release of any person who has been wrongfully confined, imprisoned or kidnapped.”
—Ezinwanne Onwuka reports for TruthNigeria from Abuja.