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Terrorists Threaten to Kill 5 Kidnapped Christians if $20,000 ransom is not paid March 28

By Mike Odeh and Luka Binniyat

(Kaduna) – Bandits who kidnapped a family of four  and three others 48 days ago from Gonin Gora, Chikun County, Kaduna state, Northwest Nigeria, have threatened to kill them if a ransom of US$20,000 (N30 million naira) is not paid by Thursday (March 28, 2024).

Gonin Gora, a majority-Christian enclave on the southwestern edge of Kaduna metropolis has suffered for months from violent incursions from armed Fulani Muslims, whose kidnap-for ransom demands have stifled Nigeria’s agricultural economy.  Sources tell TruthNigeria that the kidnap gangs come from the  open countryside which they have taken over after chasing out the native Gaby Christian owners of the land since 2018.

On the night of February 9, 2024, the armed bandits stormed Gonin Gora again, breaking into homes in attempts to loot and take away hostages for ransom.

“Because of the frequency of the attacks of the bandits,” said a resident of Gonin Gora who does not want his name mentioned for his safety, “we the able-bodied heads of households have joined the local volunteer civilian guards to ward off any further invasion.”

“It was based on this arrangement that Mr Barry Omale, a lecturer with Kaduna State Polytechnic, Zaria, left his home on Ligali street, here in Gonin Gora to join us in the night patrol around 11pm that night” he said exclusively to TruthNigeria.

The Fulani terrorists managed to enter Ligali Street with stealth and went to the home of Omale, who said that they forced their way into his home when he was on guard in other part of Gonin Gora  and got his wife and two sons, age, 12 and 14.

They also burst into a neighboring house belonging to Mr Adewuyi and kidnapped Mrs. Adewuyi.

When the community realized that the bandits were around and raised the alarm, the outlaws started firing, scaring everyone with the much superior weapons and disappear into the night, the anonymous Gonin Gora resident said.

“Our weapons were too inferior to match theirs even as we fired in their direction,” he said.

It was after they left that it was discovered that Mrs. Priscilla  Barry Omale,  her two sons and Mrs. Esther Adewuyi had been taken away, said the man.

Mrs. Priscilla Omale,  was released by the kidnappers on March 13 and told TruthNigeria she could confirm this account to TruthNigeria.  

Speaking exclusively to TruthNigeria from her safe house today, the traumatized wife of the hostage explained:  “I was kidnapped at Ligali Street  on February 9, 2024 alongside my two sons and my neighbor,  Mrs. Esther Adewuyi .”

“On that night over 30 Fulani terrorists attacked our community while five of them scaled over the fence of my house and broke into our rooms. They pointed guns at my sons and asked me to move out of the compound.

“We met Mrs. Adewuyi outside but within my fenced home,” she said.

“Initially, Mrs. Adewuyi, my two sons, and myself were tied by hands and asked to sit down while the terrorists continued breaking into other houses.

“However, as the community guards started shooting, the terrorists abandoned their quest to kidnap more people and took the four of us away,” Omale said.

She said the terrorists forced them to trek almost continuously for 48 hours through thorn bushes and up and down hills.

After it was apparent to their abductors that they could no longer walk, motor bikes were brought which took them to their destination, she said.

“While we were trekking, some of  the Fulani would disappear to God-knows-where and bring back food for us to eat.  Sometimes, the bought bread, sometimes mashed potatoes, cooked beans and water to drink,” she said.

“To make us walk fast, we were also flogged mercilessly, insulted and threatened,” she said.

” When we got to our destination at night totally exhausted, we only saw bush with tall trees. The next morning, they built a mud house  with a straw roof. Then they brought leather and spread it on the floor for us as our bed. That was two days after we were kidnapped,” she said.

“The terrorists have radio sets and constantly listened to news,
 she said.  The camp included other groups of criminals with their own allotted compounds within earshot.  They could hear screaming voices of victims who were being tortured or the voices of the Fulani commanders barking out orders or playing music.

“Apart from radio sets, they had solar panels which powered  small TV sets and from which they charged their phones,” Omale said.

“Other bandits visited the ones holding us, and they would converse in Fulani, so we don’t get to know what they are talking about,” she said.

“In our camp we had more than 30 Fulani armed bandits who were taking turns to watch us,” she added.

Were Hostages Held Near Shiroro Lake in Niger?

 “I suspect that we were kept in Kaduna State besides a huge body of water sharing a boundary with Niger State,” she said. Some analysts suggest to TruthNigeria that the location could be Shiroro Lake which shares a border with Niger State.

“When they brought bread to us, I checked the paper placed in the bread giving the address of the bakery, and it would include a  Kaduna state address. I also overheard the bandits say that once they took us across the  river, we shall be in Niger state,” she said.

“A few days after they kidnapped me and my children, they asked me to call my husband, Mr. Barry Omale, and asked him to pay  N20 million (US$13,333 dollars).

However, Omale told them that he could only afford N8 million (US$ 5,333 dollars). They reluctantly agreed and told him to come over with the money to a pickup area in Zaria, some 35 miles, north of Kaduna metropolis, according to Mrs. Omale.

Meanwhile, Mr Imam Tajudeen, a trader in fabrics, a neighbor to the Omale’s,  came into the negotiation,  because the language of communication between the bandits and Omale is Hausa, which Omale cannot speak. But Tajudeen is fluent in Hausa.

So  Omale and Tajudeen hired a cab to take them to Zaria with US$5,333 dollars (N8 million)  ransom money  to the agreed location.

Unfortunately, as they brought the money, they too were kidnapped, she said.

According to her, the terrorists said that Omale annoyed them by reneging on the US$13,333 dollars agreed upon.

 Mrs. Omale said her husband Barry,  and Imam Tajudeen and the driver were driven into the camp where she also was kept as hostage .

When asked about the 17 people kidnapped from Gonin Gora on 28th February, 2024, she added that she did not see them.

“I did not see them. it was after I came out that I heard about their kidnapping,” she said.

All I can say is that we were 7 hostages in our camp. We the women were treated a bit better than the men and the boys.

“My husband is tied by hand and leg to Mr Tajudeen and the driver. And they are beaten at the slightest hint of anything unpleasant to the bandits. They are hardly given anything to eat or drink,” she said.

She was released approximately 5  days ago to go and bring ransom for the freedom of her husband and others.

“Yesterday, I got a call from someone who said that I should inform the government and our relations that if a total sum of N30 millions (US$20,000) is not produced by Thursday, (March 28, 2024) they will kill my husband, my son and the rest,” she said.

According to her, her husband and son may be exchanged for N15 million (US$10,000) and Mr Tajudeen, Mrs. Adewuyi and the driver can only be released if N15 million (US$10,000 dollars) is brought as their ransom money.

TruthNigeria contacted local police to see if they were aware of the development, but there was no response from Assistant Superintendent of Police Mansir Hassan as he didn’t pick his call or respond to an sms sent to him. TruthNigeria attempted to reach Kaduna Security Commissioner Samuel Aruwan, who did not respond to text messages.

Mike Odeh and Luka Binniyat are veteran conflict reporters based in Kaduna City.

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