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Terrorists Demand US$ 27 Billion Ransom For 19 Gonin Gora Hostages

Chief of Gonin Gora, Chief John Dodo Yusuf (Credit: ThruthNigeria)
Chief of Gonin Gora, Chief John Dodo Yusuf (Credit: ThruthNigeria)

By Luka Binniyat and Mike Odeh

Terrorists who invaded Gonin Gora suburb of Kaduna metropolis, Northwest Nigeria on the night of 28 February, 2024 made a historically unprecedented demand of N40 trillion naira (US$27 billion dollars) ransom among other demands.

Nigeria’s 2024 budget is N27.5 trillion (US$18 billion).

The demand was disclosed by the traditional ruler of the Christian strong community, Chief John Dodo Yusuf, at his palace in Gonin Gora after one of the female hostages who was released March 10 (Sunday) informed him in person about the ransom demands of Fulani Islamist terrorists (usually called Fulani herdsmen).

“People are struggling to eat, and they are asking for N40 trillion (US$27 billion dollars)! Not billions! Where do we get such an amount of money,” asked Chief Yusuf to press assembled at his palace. “How much does the federal Government have,  much less of Kaduna state? We are pleading with the government to do something if not, the people will die in the hands of the terrorists,” Yusuf said.

The Tribal Chief also asked the government to build a military base in the forest 3 miles southwest of Gonin Gora. “We are also asking the government to establish a military base behind our community where the terrorist take advantage of the bush to invade our community,” Yusuf said.

 A forward operating base (FOB) is set up on the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway approximately one mile north of the city.  Soldiers stationed at the FOB responded to the kidnapper invasion during the electricity blackout on from 11:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., however, the soldiers did not arrive until the lights were back on, at approximately 3:00 a.m., according to several witnesses who spoke to TruthNigeria.

By that time, many of the 17 hostages from Gonin Gora were in the hands of the kidnappers who were retreating into bush west of the town. A group of civilian guards armed with pipe guns pursued the kidnappers. The civilian guards, known colloquially as vigilantes took cover and stopped when volleys of assault rifle fire blasted at them.  Guard Thomas (Toma) Illiya was killed. The Chief Executive Officer of Beacons Security Consulting, Dr. Kabiru Adamu said on TVC News March 9,  there should be accountability and responsibility within the security  and intelligence units of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

Mr Adamu said that the top leadership of the Nigerian Armed Forces should have been queried over the failure to prevent mass kidnapping in Kaduna state .
“By now, those who should have prevented the incident should have been queried or suspended from office,” he said .

The soldiers with AK 47 assault rifles did not pursue, according to witnesses. 

The freed hostage, Mrs Esther Barry, who was kidnapped from Gonin Gora with her daughter on Feb. 1,  spoke to the press at the Chief’s palace , saying that the  terrorists released her and her daughter along Kaduna – Abuja expressway, and they found their way to the Gonin Gora on March 10.

“We did not know where they were taking us to that night. But we trekked for more than 5 hours when we were kidnapped  [Feb. 1] and made to river Kaduna, Barry said in tears.

“The night we were kidnapped, we were forced to trek through the forests and hills while the kidnappers tried to evade the military.

“When we crossed River Kaduna, we rested  a bit before continued trekking until we got to an abandoned village,” said Barry.

“When we got to the destination, they asked for our telephones and asked us to call our husbands or relatives .

“When I called my husband, they asked him to bring a certain amount of money. When he took the money to them, they released me and one of my babies and held on to my husband and my other son .

Barry said that the men are being chained together and kept in a poor and unhealthy environment.

“They asked me  to tell the chief of Gonin Gora to come with N40 trillion, 11 Hilux buses and 125 motorcycles.

“We were kept in a very bad and deplorable condition without food or water to drink. The men are chained to their fists and legs together.

“But we the women are treated a little better than the men. We were not chained, and we were given water to drink. And they did not harass us,” she said.

Prior to the Feb. 28 invasion of Gonin Gora and the abduction of 17 hostages, bandits had attacked New Nigeria, a subdivision of Gonin Gora  Feb. 1 and abducted Barry and her son and daughter. After days of negotiation, her husband, Barry Omale, and Pastor Tajudeen Iman took a ransom of N8 million (US$5,300 dollars) on February 9, TruthNigeria can exclusively report.

But instead of releasing the family of Barry, the terrorist held back Mr. Omale and Pastor Tajudeen.

The same kidnappers of the Barry’s invaded Gonin Gora February 28, TruthNigeria can confirm. There are now 19 hostages from Gonin Gora believed to be held in the forest in Niger near Shiroro.

Luka Binniyat and Mike Odeh James are Kaduna-based conflict reporters for TruthNigeria.

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