Some of the abducted travelers from Niger State Transport Authority (NSTA) bus
According to a report by SaharaReporters, some of the freed 53 passengers who were kidnapped by terrorists while they were traveling in a Niger State government-owned NSTA bus in Niger State have continued to narrate their experiences in the kidnappers’ den.
The passengers recently regained their freedom following the intervention of the state government.
Narrating his experience in an interview with ARISE TV, one of the freed victims said they could neither sleep nor drink water.
He said the bandits subjected them to serious torture, threatening to kill them.
“You can’t sleep the way you want, wake up the way you want, eat the way you want. Even drinking water was a problem. They will be beating you and shooting guns up and down,” he said.
“The bandits insisted that it’s either they bail us all or they will kill all of us.”
He disclosed that they trekked for 24 hours in the bush and could only stop when they asked them to stop.
“When they shot at the car, I just stopped,” the freed kidnap victim said while narrating how he was captured.
He noted that he was fiddling with his phone when he heard the gunshot.
“They said I should continue moving with them.”
The freed kidnap victim also disclosed that the bandits complained that they are homeless and their cows stolen and wondered why the government should ask them to leave the bushes without giving them anything.
Another victim also disclosed that the bandits were always communicating with some people.
He said, “There are people they were always communicating with. They said that whatever we wanted to do, we must take permission from them. Whatever you wanted to do, they would ask you what are you going to do? Or they will call you and say, ‘come here, do you have money to bail yourself?’
“They will ask you how much? Do you have N5 million? Most of us will say, no, that the highest we can give you people is N100, 000 or N150, 000. Before you know it, they will just beat you.
“I thank God, but they seriously beat me and my friend.”
According to him, the bandits started beating them on Friday.
“On Saturday morning, around I.30 am, they asked my friend and me to wake up and they took us to one place and they asked us ‘can you bail yourself’ and while we were asking them how much, before we knew it, they started beating us,” he said.
“Then one of their leaders came out and asked them to stop beating us and they asked us to return.”
He also narrated his experience on Saturday night when the elderly one among the bandits was communicating with someone outside and the gunmen asked all the victims to lie down, while they were waiting for instructions from outside.
SaharaReporters had reported how armed bandits abducted about 21 passengers in Niger State.
The passengers on board a Niger State Transport Authority bus were last Sunday abducted in Kundu village, near Zungeru in the Yakila District of Rafi Local Government Area of the state.
The incident, according to reports, occurred around 3 pm when the bandits waited in ambush as the public transport vehicle ran into the blockade.
A video released by the group seen by SaharaReporters last Wednesday showed the passengers begging the Nigerian government “to do something” about their release.
Some children and women were seen crying and pleading with the government to pay the N500 million ransom demanded by the group to facilitate their release.
Also, in the video, one of the gunmen could be heard speaking in Hausa, dictating to the victims what to say.
The bandits as well displayed their arsenal of weapons in a show of strength, threatening to kill their hostages if the government failed to pay the ransom or tried to secure their release by force.
The Niger State Government however on Sunday confirmed the release of all the passengers on its verified Twitter page.