Nigeria: Terrorists Demand N60 Million Ransom for 31 Kidnapped Residents

In Nigeria, ransom payment is an offence.

Terrorists who abducted 31 people in Tashar Nagulle, Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State are demanding a N60 million ransom for their release, residents of the community have told PREMIUM TIMES.

The victims were taken during a night attack on the community last Sunday when the terrorists, wearing military camouflage, deceived the residents that they were soldiers sent to protect them.

The terrorists used one of their victim’s phones to call his family members and instructed that the phone should be taken to the ward head.

“We are poor, we can’t even provide N60,000 not to talk of millions of naira,” a member of the ward head office, who was present during the negotiations, told PREMIUM TIMES.

“So it doesn’t make any sense to talk of getting N60 million from us. We are appealing to the authorities to come to our aid because things have completely worsened. We can’t go to our farms neither do we’ve have the means to patronise local markets, so how exactly are we supposed to gather N60m,” the source, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons, said.

A religious leader in the area, who also sought anonymity, said the terrorists were angry when the residents told them they couldn’t gather N60 million.

“Yesterday, they called and asked that we should provide a sack of processed grain, two empty jerry cans for their water need and some vegetables. We hope that they’ll understand the situation and accept the one million naira we are negotiating with them,” he said.

Paying ransom in Nigeria has been criminalised as the federal government says giving terrorists money or other materials as ransom emboldens them.

A few weeks ago, the Minister of Defence, Abubakar Badaru, urged Nigerians to stop paying ransom to the terrorists operating in the North-west.

But the religious leader in Tashar Nagulle said the people have begun taxing themselves to provide “something” out of the money the terrorists are demanding.

“We are already gathering the money. These are our children, friends, wives, relatives so we can’t abandon them with the terrorists”, the religious leader, who said his two oldest brothers and son were abducted during the attack, said.

Batsari (in Katsina State) and Zurmi (in Zamfara State) are the two local government areas now witnessing a surge in terrorist activities.

In the last 14 days, a military camp and a mobile police checkpoint were attacked in Batsari amid several other attacks, while over 10 people have been killed with several others abducted in Zurmi.

The two areas share boundaries with the dreaded Rugu and Dumburun forests believed to be infested by terrorists.

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