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How Children Escaped From Bandits Camp



Gunmen Katsina

The Village Head of Dutsen Abba in Zaria Local Government, Kaduna State Alhaji Nura Jibrin, said his three children who were kidnapped together with four other residents of the village on June 9, have escaped.

The village head told newsmen in Zaria on Thursday that seven people were abducted from the village, but four were released on June 26, after the payment of N3 million as ransom.

He gave the names of the three children who escaped as Halima Falalu-Umar, 10, Bashir Nura-Umar, 7, and Khadija Falalu-Umar 7.

Jibrin disclosed that sometimes in July, a few days to Eid-el-Kabir festival, the kidnappers demanded for additional money and N500,000 was paid to them, but they refused to release the children.

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He added that on Aug. 6, the kidnappers demanded for a new motorcycle or additional N300, 000 to release the three children, but the request was not honoured by the victims’ family.

“While waiting in anticipation, on Aug. 8, 59 days after the incident, I was informed that my children escaped from the kidnappers and they were at Sabon Birni in Igabi Local Government.

“The caller linked me to the children. Afterwards, we went to Sabon Birni and brought them home,’’ the village head said.

Narrating her ordeal, Halima Falalu-Umar said they ran away from their abductors in the night while it was raining and the person assigned to guard them was sleeping.

She added that shortly after leaving the camp together with some other abducted children, they met someone along the way who asked them where they were going in the night and they lied to him that some people freed them and left them stranded.

According to her, the man insisted to know if they ran away from any camp and the children maintained their position.

“The man took us to a different place where we spent the night.

“The next day, while it was still raining in the morning, we continued trekking towards the nearest village with the help of the man.

“While trekking in the rain, Bashir collapsed and had to be carried by one of us and we continued trekking with the help of the man until we saw a mobile network mast.

“The man stopped and told us to walk towards the direction of the mobile network mast and we will see people who will take us to the nearest village.’’

She said while moving towards the mast as advised, they came across an over-flooded stream due to the rainfall which forced them to stay for sometimes till it subsided.

Falalu-Umar said after crossing the stream and moving towards the mast, some good Samaritans guided them to Sabon Birni village.

The 10-year-old revealed that the kidnappers lived with their families at the camp along with their children who go on cattle rearing daily.

She said they met other victims at the camp, mostly adults including a bride and her friends, lactating mother and her baby and many others who were tied in different groups.

“We were not tied like the adults; they allowed us to mingle with their children before or after they return from cattle rearing.

“We were served white rice without stew, vegetable oil or any seasoning once a day and in some instances nothing at all.’’

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