The kidnappers of 20 men from Illela in Katsina State have threatened to kill their captives on Monday if they do not receive N20 million.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how on December 19, last year 20 men were abducted by gunmen at Illela village of Safana Local Government Area on their way back from a wedding ceremony in Kankara town.
PREMIUM TIMES obtained audio of a voice call between one of the village elders and one of the kidnappers.
In the audio, the kidnapper gave an ultimatum of four days which will lapse tomorrow (Monday).
He threatened that if the N20 million is not paid by Monday, they would kill the captives “since their relatives don’t love them enough to provide the ransom.” He said the kidnappers were also tired of holding the victims.
PREMIUM TIMES made efforts to communicate with the police spokesperson in the state, Gambo Isa, who at first denied the incident.
Mr Isa later confirmed the abduction after speaking with the police divisional officer for Zakah district. He said that they are collaborating with the traditional leaders in the community and Miyetti Allah cattle breeders group as the local vigilante group to rescue the victims.
He explained some efforts by the police to free the victims.
The police spokesperson assured the victims would soon be rescued, saying negotiation with the kidnappers was not an option.
In a telephone interview, a resident of the area confirmed the kidnappers first brought down their initial demand of N50 million to N30 million (N1.5 million for each person) and now to N20 million.
The resident who pleaded anonymity said the police had not attended to similar cases, saying the security agency was always reluctant to assign officers to comb the forest in search of the victims.
He also lamented that the demand of the kidnappers cannot be met since the villagers are poor and will not be able to raise “even N100,000.”