Nine persons kidnapped in Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State have been released by their captors.
One of the victims, Lawali Ali, popularly called Mai bulaus Udawa, told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview how he and eight others regained their freedom.
He explained that no ransom was paid to the bandits before they allowed them to go.
According to him, his abductors made him trek for two hours inside the bush alongside 30 others after their abduction in the early hours of Wednesday.
Mr Lawali said he was on his way to Kaduna when the vehicle he boarded at Birnin-Gwari was stopped along Labi village.
“We left home around 7 a.m. on Wednesday to Kaduna when we saw a tanker blocking the main road close to a place called Labi.
“We thought it was an accident that occured but before our driver realised what was happening and tried to make a u-turn, those bandits surrounded us and ordered us out of the car.
“I saw other vehicles that were also stopped with other passengers. So, they (bandits) led us all into the bush, about 30 of us. We trekked for two hours deep inside bush before we got to their destination,” he said.
According to him, the bandits asked him about his occupation and he told them he had no job.
“I told them I’m an Islamic scholar and an indigene of Sokoto State but based in Udawa village . So, they separated me from the rest. Later on, nine of us were asked to go home. So, we left,” he said.
Mr Lawali said among those released was a woman who was on her way to Wushishi in Niger State.
“They collected all our belongings such as phones and money. They collected my bedsheets which I bought for my family and other goods. The N7000 in my pocket was also taken by one of them,” he said.
He also spoke on the number of victims remaining in the bush.
“There are about 21 people left in the bush with the bandits, two are women. The bandits are Fulani youth,” he said.
He said the remaining people released boarded another vehicle to their destinations.
Mr Lawali said five people from Udawa town that boarded same vehicle with him were still with the bandits in the bush.
On whether they were tortured, he said they were not.
“No I was not tortured but they beat other passengers that were slow in walking.”
A fomer Chairman of Birnin-Gwari, who didn’t want his name mentioned for safety reasons, confirmed the abduction of many people on Tuesday and Wednesday along the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari route.
“The people abducted in three Golf 3 vehicles were our people from Birnin-Gwari town and some towns that were on their way to Kano State for businesses. Their vehicles were stopped by bandits along Labi on Birnin-Gwari Kaduna highway on Wednesday,” he said.
Also, chairman of the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers, Birnin-Gwari branch, Danladi Duniya, also confirmed the abduction.
Meanwhile, the state Commissioner of Police, Austin Iwar, did not answer his calls when the reporter sought information on the incident.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Aliyu Muktar, who promised “to get the full details of the incident,” did not return subsequent calls.
Scores of people have been killed and others kidnapped in Birnin-Gwari in 2018.
The army last week announced a new battalion in the troubled local government.