• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Kaduna abduction: Kidnappers demand N1bn, vow to kill victims in 20 days

Gunmen kidnap five in Dutse Makaranta Abuja

Kidnappers who abducted 287 school children in Kuriga, Chikun Local Government Area, Kaduna State, have demanded a ransom of N1 billion for their release. They issued a threat to kill the hostages if the payment is not made within 20 days.


However, the military has pledged to rescue the children without harm and noted that kidnappers often use mass abductions as a human shield against military operations.


On March 7, 2024, the kidnappers attacked a school in Kuriga, injuring one pupil and taking more than 200 individuals into the forest.


Following the incident, President Bola Tinubu instructed security forces to ensure the safety of the kidnapped without paying any ransom, as stated by Muhammed Idris, the minister of Information and National Orientation.


“The President has directed that security agencies must, as a matter of urgency, ensure that these children and all those who have been kidnapped are brought back in safety and also in the process, to ensure that not a dime is paid as ransom,” the minister said.


The kidnappers contacted a representative for the hostages’ families, demanding 1 billion naira ($620,432) as ransom and threatening to kill the hostages in 20 days if not paid, according to Reuters.


A community leader, Jubril Aminu, acting as the families’ spokesperson, confirmed the ransom demand and deadline.


“They (kidnappers) made a total of a N1 billion ransom demand for all the pupils, students and staff of the school.


“They gave a request to pay the ransom within 20 days, effective from the date of the kidnap. They said they will kill all the students and the staff if the ransom demand is not met,” Aminu said.


Idris Ibrahim, an official from Kuriga Ward, also confirmed the demand and stated that authorities are attempting to trace the call.


He said, “Yes, the kidnappers called the community through Jubril Aminu’s number and made the demand.

“They called from a hidden number but the authorities are working on getting the number.’’


The military, represented by Major General Edward Buba, reaffirmed their commitment to rescuing the hostages. He criticised the school’s delay in reporting the abduction and linked a separate kidnapping in Borno State to the victims’ non-compliance with safety instructions.


Major General Buba described the kidnappings as a strategy by the bandits to shield themselves and potentially recruit new members. He emphasized the military’s recent successes against the kidnappers and their determination to rescue all hostages.


“We have depleted their ranks, and neutralized many of their commanders and foot soldiers. The terrorists exhibited gross cowardice by going after children.


“We have taken their commanders out. We recently acquired new air platforms to further decimate them. They know we mean business. It is to protect themselves that they went after the students. But we will not rest until all the kidnapped victims are rescued.”


“These hostages are being held in locations that are difficult to get to, but not out of reach. The situation is, however, indicative of the desperation of these terrorists to avoid troops’ onslaught by all means,” he said.