Kidnapped Niger passengers narrate ordeal, reunite with family

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The abducted passengers of the Niger State Transport Authority bus, who regained freedom from captivity on Sunday, have narrated their ordeals in the hands of their captors.

They told journalists in Minna on Monday that their experience was terrible and horrible.

One of them, Hajia Jummai Isah, said: “They were threatening us and beating the men.

“They really beat the hell out of the men, but all they wanted from us was money.

“They kept demanding money from us so that they would spare us, if not, they said they’d kill us. They used to give us dirty water to drink from the stream.

“Their ammunition is out of this world. I’d never seen that kind of arms before in my life. They’ve different kinds of assorted weapons.”

Muhammed Kindagi, a civil servant with the Niger State Science and Technical School Board, said: “If we ate in the morning, we wouldn’t eat another one till evening, with contaminated water to drink.

“We were sleeping on bare floors in the bush. We were not tied, but guns were pointed at our heads and they were beating us constantly every day.

“They beat our women too. There was one useless one among them who didn’t bother whether you’re a woman or a man before he started beating you.

“They beat us with sticks. As they’re beating us, they’re asking us to bring money.

“They asked us to forgive them and we said we forgave them. We asked them to forgive us too so that we could leave the bush.”

Another freed passenger, Hamza Muhammed Buhari, said: “They starved us because they only gave us a handful of food that was not enough.

“We cooked rice with contaminated water, while about ten of us took a bottle of contaminated water. We were tortured daily. It was indeed bad and terrible.”

The freed passengers had been taken to the hospital for treatment.

Meanwhile, The 53 passengers who were abducted while travelling in a bus belonging to the Niger State Transport Authority have been reunited with their families.

The Niger State Government had last week secured their release from bandits who attacked and abducted them while they were travelling along the Minna-Zungeru Road.

The Chief of Staff to the Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Balarabe, who met with the victims at a government facility in Minna, the Niger State capital, urged them not to allow their ugly experiences to weigh them down but to see it as a phase in their lives, adding that they should keep faith in God to overcome the trauma.

A statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor of Niger State, Mary Noel-Berje, revealed that the COS “appealed to the general public to show them love so that they can quickly adjust and continue living their normal life.”

The statement read partly, “The Chief of Staff announced the Government’s support to the abductees to enable them to settle and stabilize as they go back to their loved ones.

“Commissioner of Health, Dr Muhammad Makusidi said, following the directives of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello comprehensive medical examination was carried out on the released abductees and are certified healthy to be reunited with their families.

“The victims were however grateful to the government that worked tirelessly to secure their release. Few of them that spoke the journalists could not hide their joy.”

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