Bandits release Katsina village head, 35 others after N26m ransom

Bandits have released the village head of Guga in Bakori local government area of Katsina, Alhaji Umar, and 35 other residents of the village after collecting N26 million as ransom.

The victims spent 29 days in the kidnappers’ den before they were released late Sunday evening.

Premium Times had reported how the bandits stormed the village on February 7, killed 10 residents and abducted 36 more, including the village head.

The release of the victims was confirmed Monday night by the eldest son and a son-in-law of the monarch, Nafiu Muhammadu.

According to Muhammadu, the bandits had reached out to the family two days after the abduction and demanded a N30 million ransom.

“They were negotiating with the village head’s junior brother and some elders in the community. But when they were informed that the sum mentioned was impossible, they promised to discuss with their leader and revert, which they did after three days,” he said.

Muhammadu said when the bandits called back, they asked for N10 million, warning that there should be no negotiations.

“They said they knew he (the village head) has money so, we should get N5 million for him and N5 million for the remaining 35 residents,” Muhammadu added.

But when the ransom payment party took the N10 million to the bandits, it was told that the money would be accepted as compensation for the killing of some bandits by vigilantes in the area.

“We were shocked,” said Abdullahi Umar, the village head’s son. “They said we should go and add N20 million if we were serious about saving our people. We had to go back again and gather N16 million, after which they told us to go back home and wait for our people.”

Umar said the captives returned to Guga in the late evening where medical workers from Bakori local government area examined them.

When asked how they got the N26 million, Umar said they sold all they had and reached out to some influential people in the state.

He added that everyone in the town, including those who had no abducted relatives, was asked to contribute.