Sumayya Abubakar was pregnant when she and her twin daughters were abducted in Dauran town in Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State October last year. Her abductors threatened to kill her after the family said it could not raise the N20 million ransom they demanded.The kidnappers told Mrs Abubakar’s father on the telephone that they had killed 20-year-old man, Suraju Umar, a neighbour of Mrs Abubakar who they also abducted at the same time.
Mrs Abubakar and Mr Umar were abducted alongside four others.She was released in December after the family paidf N10 million to the abductors.
In this interview with PREMIUM TIMES’ Halimah Yahaya, Mrs Abubakar narrates her ordeal with the kidnappers and how she witnessed the execution of a young neighbour abducted with her.
PT- How did the whole thing happen?
Sumayya – It happened on a Tuesday at about 11:30p.m. My husband travelled and left only the three of us in the house, myself and the twins. They had already slept and I was just lying down when I overheard some voices talking. Not quite long after, I began to hear knocks on my gate. For a while, they continued knocking without stop, then I thought to myself that this is danger. Immediately, I woke the twins up and told them what was happening and the need for us to hide in the room, since we were all in the parlour.
After a while, one of those people gave an order that we should open the door. I told them I would not. They added that if we did not open the door for them and they found their way into the house, they would shoot us because they had guns with them. I never had the intention of opening the door but the twins advised I opened it. While I was walking towards the door, I was shivering with fear.
I opened it and they all came into the house with force. Immediately, one of them slapped me and said I should bring all the money in the house. I told the kidnappers that there was no money in the house. They insisted I give them money, if not they would shoot.
There is a box where I save my money, I cannot really tell the amount in that box because I just drop money into it. I brought out the box. They quickly broke it and took all the money in it. After that, they brought us out of the house. Coming outside, we saw two boys lying on the floor that they captured before coming to my house. Altogether we became five of us with them.
The kidnappers in front and behind us, we started walking without having the knowledge of where we were being taken to. We walked for almost three hours before we got to where they had parked their motorcycle.
They took us on the motorcycle and drove on very high speed for about an hour and a half. We got to a place very bushy with worms everywhere. We were there for a week.
The kidnappers had clashes with some soldiers hunting them. After the fight, they noticed their hideout was no longer safe, so they decided to relocate us to a different place.
After two weeks we were brought back to the first place. It was while we were returning from the journey, which was for almost two hours that we fell from our own motorcycle, because it was Husseina and I that it carried. While I was on the floor, I was very weak to the extent I could not move my legs. They noticed the weakness even with their threat that if I didn’t get up, they would shoot me.
They later decided to carry me to a nearby bush where I was laid on a lying tree. I was very sick and unconscious. I could not even tell where I was. I laid for a while, then they said we needed to continue with the journey.
They lifted me and placed me on the motorcycle. If we drive for a while, they would stop and leave to rest and then continue. My eyes were open but I was not seeing anything. We continued with the stop and rest until we got to where we were going.
For about two weeks, I was not myself. During this period, one day I started bleeding seriously. It was a miscarriage, I lost my pregnancy. There was nothing like medication.
We were there till when negotiation for the twins started. They bargained till the kidnappers accepted to collect the amount. The money was paid but only the twins were released. I was left alone there for about three weeks.
Meanwhile, they kept threatening my parents that if their request of N30 million was not paid, they would kill me and Surajo, the boy they took with us. The call went on and on for days till one day, they took Surajo on their motorcycle and took him somewhere and shot him. I was watching how they killed him, he was shot on the head severally. After that, they approached me and said I should stand up or they would also shoot me. I stood up and climbed their motorcycle and I was taken to another place.
I did not know they had agreed with my people to collect N5 million for me to be released. The old man that was sent with the money came with it, they collected it and also abducted him. The old man and I were there for 27 days.
PT – Where the kidnappers giving you food?
Sumayya – As regards food, I was made their cook. They would threaten me even with my sickness to still cook and that if I did not do it, I would be killed. I had no choice than to do what they asked me to do.
There were days they brought food stuff and told me to cook. After cooking we and the little ones among them ate the food. The bosses did not eat with us. It was not funny at all because on the days they were not able to bring anything, I ended up cooking white rice with salt in it, which we ate.
PT – What medication did they give you when any of you fell ill?
Sumayya – Anytime I fell sick, I used to tell one of them that was somehow sympathetic. If he had drugs with him, he would give me. But on days I asked and he did not have any with him, he would ignore me and say he did not have drugs to give me.
PT – How were you released?
Sumayya – Hmmmm, there was a time they became serious with their threat to my parents that within a stipulated time, if they did not pay the ransom, I would be killed. The threat continued till the moment they observed they were being hunted, that was when they reduced the money from N20 million to N10 million, adding that it would be the last price. If my parents did not pay, they would kill me and the old man with them. That was how they were given the N10 million and we were released to the Glory of God.
PT – How have you been since your release?
Summaya – I have nothing to say than giving thanks to God for keeping me this far in their captivity without harm. Although I have been taken to the hospital. I have had a series of tests and I was told that the pregnancy was no more. But since then, I have been on medication. I am recuperating fully. Since I came back, people have been trooping in and out to come and greet me. They have been praying for me seriously and up til now, they still come to our house.
The old man is also doing fine.
PT – If by chance, your abductors are caught, what should be done to them?
Sumayya – The only thing I wish for them is for God to make them realise their errors and repent. I am praying for them to leave that way of life and be better people in the society because if they continue, there is high tendency that they would not end well if they do not desist from this illicit act.
I would advise government at all levels to be on their toes on the issue of kidnapping. It is eating up the society every day, with people being kidnapped on daily basis. I am lucky to be out alive. How about the ones they are killing? It is a very serious case that should be tackled with immediate effect.