BANDITS in Niger State have threatened to kill abducted farmers in their den if their ransom demands are not met by the victims’ kin by this weekend.
The victims are said to hail from Kafin-Koro, Kwagana and other neighbouring communities in Paikoro Local Government Areas of the state.
Saturday Tribune gathered that four of the kidnap victims were released a few days ago to enable them to convey their ransom message and death threat to the relations of those that remain in captivity.
The Coordinator, Justice, Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) of the Catholic Diocese of Minna, Reverend Father Bahago Dauda Musa, who has maintained close contacts with the affected communities since the kidnap incident, told newsmen in Minna during the week that the victims, among whom are women, have been subjected to harsh treatments, including sexual abuse, by their abductors.
Also during week, a 16-minute video said to have been released by the hoodlums emerged after the four kidnap victims were set free.
In the video, one of the bandits in military camouflage is seen shooting two men at close range while the other victims scream and beg to be spared. Reverend Bahago confirmed that the video was real.
“That woman in the video is calling some people’s names. She is asking them to come and secure her freedom, telling them to see how she and the others are suffering,” he said while trying to interpret in a local dialect, the plea of a woman in the video to her relations.
The video revealing the agonizing conditions of the abductees has since sent widespread reaction of shock and distress across parts of the state.
Saturday Tribune had reported earlier in the year how dozens of farmers were abducted in Kafin-Koro, Kwagana and adjoining communities and how the bandits later demanded N100 million ransom after which negotiations caused the bandits change their demand to a new motorcycle on each the victims in their custody.
It was learnt that the police authorities and the administration of the immediate past governor of the state, Abubakar Sani Bello, had shown resolve to secure the release of the kidnapped persons before the expiration of the Bello’s May 29.
The police in the state confirmed the new development on the abduction saga when Saturday Tribune contacted them for reaction on Friday.
The command’s Public Relations Officer, Wasiu Abiodun, who made the confirmation, said: “We are working with other security agencies, the military in particular, and we are collaborating with neighbouring states to ensure that the victims are rescued from captivity.”
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