Seven persons including a seven-year-old girl kidnapped at Rijana on the Kaduna-Abuja highway last Saturday have been rescued by the joint Operation Thunder Strike.
The victims, who were travelling from Ofa in Kwara State to Kaduna, said their abductors, who were dressed in full military camouflage, stopped them at Rijana at about 9:30 pm and moved them to the forest.
They are: Aishat Bisola, 26, Ahmad Abdulrafiu, 26, Maryam Abubakar, 7, Suleiman Khadija, 25, Lawal Temitope, 23, Bala Abdullahi, 52 and Abdulrazak Okunola, 35.
Operation Thunder Strike is a Defence Headquarters lead operation comprising the Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, DSS and NSCDC deployed to address security threats along Kaduna-Abuja, Kaduna-Birni Gwari and Kaduna-Zaria highways.
The Force Commander, Operation Thunder Strike, Col. Ibrahim Gambari, said since the inception of the operation, they have been trying their best to end kidnapping.
“Before the operation was launched, several cases of kidnapping on a daily basis were being recorded, especially during the day. But since the inception of the operation, we have been able to nip in the bud such incidents and most of the cases that were recorded usually happened at night. That was why the Kaduna State Government stopped the mounting of roadblocks on the road,” he said.
Two AK47, 130 rounds of ammunition, five magazine, two phones, N100,000 and three camouflage were recovered from the kidnappers.
One of the rescued victims, Aliyu Aishat Bisola, said they were kept on a rock for the five days without food.
“We trekked for over three hours before we reached the kidnappers’ den on a mountain top.
“They collected our phones and money while they were negotiating ransom between N10million and N2million.
“The kidnappers beat us everyday. They even covered the face of another male victim and threatened to kill him if he did not bring money.
“They did not give us any food or water, we sat on the rock under rain and sun without any shelter from that Saturday till Wednesday when we were rescued,” she said.
Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs Samuel Aruwan, who received the rescued victims on behalf of the government, hailed the Army for the successful operation that led to the victims’ rescue.
Gunmen have abducted the Chairman of Kogi State Miners Association, Yunusa Oruma, from his home in Ankpa Local Government.
The victim’s brother, Prince Oruma, told our correspondent yesterday that his brother was relaxing in his house when eight gunmen invaded the place at about 8pm on Sunday and began shooting.
He said they seized his brother and drove away with him, adding that no information has been heard since he was abducted.
Oruma said the incident has been reported to the police and other security agencies in Ankpa, and appealed for their efforts to secure his brother’s release.
Police spokesman William Aya confirmed the incident.
He said efforts are on to rescue the victim.