Suspected bandits have released another batch of 15 kidnap victims in Katsina state. The victims were released by the bandits as part of the peace deal with the state government.
Meanwhile, the 15 victims have been in the kidnappers’ den for 44 days. The den is located deep in Dansadau forest in Zamfara. Among those released were 13 women, a one-year-old and a new-born baby. As a matter of fact, the baby was born a day before the mother was released by the bandits.
The peace deal struck by the Katsina State government with the bandits has worked a treat. In fact, 30 kidnapped victims had been released earlier as part of the deal.
The Katsina State Government confirmed it had negotiated the peace deal with the bandits in order to end the spate of insecurity and sustained attacks on communities in eight local governments in the state.
Director General, Media, Abdu Labaran confirmed the release of the victims in a statement issued to the media. He stated that the victims were handed over to Gov. Aminu Masari by the Transition Committee Chairman of Jibia Local Government Area, Alhaji Haruna Musa, on Sunday afternoon in Katsina.
“The victims claimed to be ill-treated by the bandits who fed them with only little, and half cooked and barely corn gruel, twice a day.
Victims reveal bandits constantly threatened to kill them
“According to the released captives, their captors did not only keep on threatening to kill them for the failure of their relatives to pay ransom demanded by the bandits. They also shot guns in the air consistently with a view to scaring and intimidating them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Labaran declared that the 15 victims were the last of those known to be in captivity anywhere.
“Now that all the kidnapped victims from the state had been released, the next phase of sustaining the peace in Katsina is the surrender of arms and ammunitions by the bandits, and their rehabilitation and integration.
“The last phase, the governor added, will involve further provision of amenities like schools, clinics, roads, water points for human and animal consumption, as well as re-demarcation of cattle routes, encroached by some farmers and converted into farm lands.”
The statement added that the government would meet with officials of Zamfara State to strategize on sustaining the peace process. Also, the meeting, scheduled to hold at the weekend, will involve their counterparts in neighbouring state of Maradi in Niger.
Narrating her ordeal, mother of the day-old-baby, Murja, said that they were kept in a camp which initially contained 150 captives.
Nevertheless, she disclosed that the camp gradually shrunk to only 13 of them.
Further, she disclosed her disbelief on the possibility of regaining freedom as their abductors were always in a nasty mood. Murja noted that the bandits threatened to kill them since their relatives have failed to pay for their release.