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How abducted Offa travellers regained freedom

*Kidnappers demanded N70m – Community leader

*No ransom paid – Oloffa

*Avoid Kaduna-Abuja express road, ODU warns indigenes

By Mumini Abdulkareem, Kayode Adeoti and Mike Adeyemi

It was celebration galore, yesterday, in Offa, Offa Local Government
Area of Kwara State following the rescue of seven indigenes of the
community who were kidnapped along the Kaduna-Abuja express way on
Sunday on their way to Kaduna from Offa.
On Tuesday, Troops of Operation Thunder Strike rescued the kidnapped
persons, including a seven-year-old girl in Rijana village of Kaduna
State.
The victims; Aishat Bisola (26), Ahmad Abdulrafiu (26), Maryam
Abubakar (7), Suleiman Kadoka (25), Lawal Temitope (23), Bala
Abdullahi (52) – the driver of the vehicle and Abdulrazak Okunola
(35).
The troops, comprising Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, DSS and NSCDC
also recovered two AK47, 130 rounds of ammunition, five magazine, two
mobile phones, N100, 000 and three camouflage.
Speaking at Rijana village, the Force Commander, Operation Thunder
Strike, Col. Ibrahim Gambari said troops, led by Captain Uloko raided
and rescued the victims from the kidnappers’ den at 4.30am.
He emphasised that the main mission of the operation was to curtail
the incessant killings and kidnapping on Abuja-Kaduna expressway.
According to him: “Since the inception of the operation, we have been
trying our best to put an end to ugly incidence that have been
occurring on the high way.
“Before the operation was launched, several cases of kidnapping had
been occurring on a daily basis, but since the inception of the
operation, we have been able to nip in the bud such incidence and most
of the cases recorded usually happen in the night and that is why the
Kaduna State government stopped the mounting of road blocks along the
road.”
He stated that since the matter was reported, they have been working
tirelessly to ensure that the innocent civilians rejoin their
families, adding that: “In the process, we lost one of our sources who
gives us information.
“We are here to assist the people and in the process, we have
collaborators living among the civil populace, people know these
people, but they will not give them out and that has been the main
problem.”
One of the victims, Aishat Bisola, a corps member serving in Kudan
Local Government Area of the state, while narrating her ordeal, said
they were kidnapped on their way to Kaduna from Kwara State around
9.30pm on Sunday. She said they trekked for over three hours before
they reached their final destination which was on top of a heel in the
bush.
She said, “They collected all our phones and money while they were
negotiating ransom between N10million to N2million.
“The kidnappers used to beat us every day, they even covered the face
of another man and threatened to kill him if he does not bring money.
“They did not give us any food or water and we sat on the rock under
rain and sun without any shelter from that Sunday till Wednesday when
we were rescued.”
Speaking with this medium, yesterday, on the development, the Olofa of
Offa, Oba Muftau Gbadamosi, Esuwoye II, expressed profound gratitude
to God over the release of the victims.
He said, “I’m grateful to almighty Allah who alone has facilitated the
release of our people. I feel happy like every other person in the
community.
When asked if the victims have been reunited with their respective
families, the monarch said,
“They (the victims) are not back yet, they’ve been taken to the
hospital in Kaduna for check up, by tomorrow (Thursday), hopefully,
they will be reunited with their parents.”
Similarly, the National General Secretary, Offa Descendants Union
(ODU), Muideen Ibrahim in his reaction said, “We have started
gathering money to secure their release but I can tell you that no
dime was evidently paid. The abductors had to run away when the army
and the police that were involved in the rescue operation stormed
their hideout along Kaduna-Abuja road where the victims were
kidnapped.
“The victims have been taken to the hospital for treatment and they
will be reunited with their families and loved ones tomorrow.
“Our plea for now is that our people should avoid the Kaduna-Abuja
route.”
Also speaking, the former national secretary of ODU, Mrs Wosilat
McCarthy corroborated her successor saying no ransom was paid despite
the abductors demanding N10million for each victim.
She however said no ransom was paid before their abductees finally
released them.
“The incident which happened at Rijana along Abuja – Kaduna Expressway
threw the affected families into a period of sorrow but we were all
happy to hear about their release from Alhaji Najeemdeen Yasin, the
former national president of ODU,” McCarthy said.

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