On Sunday, November 15, the gunmen who kidnapped students from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, along the Kaduna-Abuja highway, requested a cumulative sum of N270 million as a ransom.
DailyTrust reports that a college student, Dickson Oko, who was able to escape kidnapping, claimed that the kidnappers had reached out to the kidnapped students’ families and demanded N30 million ransom each.
“Immediately they came on the road, the armed men opened fire. They shot two of the students in the bus and we noticed that they had erected a roadblock behind us and another in front. There was another roadblock mounted on the other lane. So the only thing I could do was to stop.”
Nurudeen said with gunshots directed at their bus and other vehicles ahead of them, he suggested to the students to brace up and run, adding
“I opened the door and crawled into the grass. The gunshots were everywhere; the person on the passenger’s seat in front also came down even though he was shot. I crossed onto the other lane. I never knew I would survive because there were gunshots directed at me.”
He said he saw the gunmen open fire at a Gulf car with people in it. He said the attack, which scared him, aided his decision to run.
During the attack, Oko, who sustained a gunshot wound, said 12 of them were on the bus, but nine students were abducted. When the bus they were travelling in was attacked by gunmen who blocked both lanes of the Akilubu-Gidan Busa axis on the highway and opened fire on motorists, the learners were on their way to the French Village in Lagos for their language immersion programme.
Mohammed Nurrudeen, the bus driver who escaped unhurt, said they were trapped at Busa sometime around 3:10 pm, a few kilometers after Akilubu.
I can’t tell how many people were killed, but what frightened me was how they opened fire on a car in the Gulf, even though it had stopped and people were there. But the bandits opened fire and proceeded to shoot. That was when I decided that while on the run, they killed me rather than facing a miserable fate in the vehicle,” he added.
However, Mohammed explained that when he returned to the roadside, soldiers had arrived and engaged the bandits in a shootout, adding that as soon as the situation settled down, he went to Katari Police Station to make a complaint.
One of my passengers, who had a baby, came and said she couldn’t believe I survived when she made the remark, because they all thought I was hit by bullets.
She trembled and told the police that the bandits were forming two groups when the soldiers arrived; one went into the forest with several abducted victims, while the other bandits remained behind to engage the security agents in an effort to distract them.
Two other students were identified, including the student on the seat of the passenger who sustained a gunshot wound, according to Mohammed, adding that the woman confirmed that the bandits left with nine of the students while we took the three who escaped to the hospital and on Monday I returned to Kaduna with them.”
The Voice of America (VOA) Hausa Service was told by a female relative of one of the abducted students that the kidnappers had reached out to the family asking for N30 million per student. She pleaded with the kidnappers, claiming they were just students, to have mercy and to release the hostages.