• Sunday, March 03, 2024
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BusinessDay

Kidnapping:13 children remain in captivity after weeks of anguish

Beyond Boko Haram: Bandits rise as Nigeria’s new terror threat

An incident of kidnapping shattering a  Christmas break lingers for a Kaduna family, as 13 young relatives abducted by bandits nearly three weeks ago remain in captivity.

Their journey homeward from Warri, Delta State, took a horrifying turn on January 6th, leaving a trail of grief and desperate pleas for their safe return.

The kidnappers, described as ruthless bandits, struck without warning. Their initial volley of gunfire sent the first bus carrying family members speeding past, but the second vehicle, carrying 53-year-old Tijani Amedu and 13 young relatives, was not as fortunate. They were snatched away, plunging their loved ones into a vortex of fear and uncertainty.

Rasaq, Mr. Amedu’s brother, bears the brunt of the family’s agony. His voice cracks with raw emotion as he tells our correspondent, “They are still with the kidnappers.” His despair deepens when asked about the authorities’ response: “Nothing, please.”

The tale of that fateful day is etched in Rasaq’s memory. “They came for the Christmas and New Year holidays,” he recalls, his voice heavy with a mixture of longing and helplessness. “But when they were going back to Kaduna, bandits attacked them. I was told the bandits started shooting as soon as they saw them. The first bus managed to escape, but the second one stopped. My brother and the 13 children were on that bus. The bandits took all of them.”

A glimmer of hope, however faint, emerged when the children made contact from their captivity. The kidnappers, initially demanding a staggering N200 million ransom, have since lowered their price to N50 million. Yet, for the desperate family, even this reduced sum seems an insurmountable burden.

As days turn into weeks, the family’s anguish deepens. The silence from the authorities adds to their despair. Each passing hour is an eternity, each unanswered question a searing reminder of their loved ones’ plight. Their plea echoes through the airwaves, a desperate cry for help, a yearning for the safe return of the 13 innocent souls stolen from their midst.

This tragedy in Kaduna serves as a stark reminder of the human cost of banditry in Nigeria.

As authorities grapple with the complex web of security challenges, the families of victims bear the brunt of the emotional toll.

The story of the Amedu family, their shattered holiday homecoming, and their ongoing struggle for their loved ones’ freedom, is a poignant call to action, a plea for empathy, and a stark reminder that behind every statistic lies a story of unimaginable pain and unwavering hope.