Despite telecom shutdown, Zamfara bandits contact kidnapped corpers’ families for N4m ransom

Bandits in Zamfara State have evaded the telecommunication blackout in many parts of the state to reach out to families of two graduates abducted en route to the National Youth Service orientation camp in Kebbi State.

The kidnappers reportedly demanded N2m ransom for each of the victims, Jennifer Iorliam and Joseph Aondona, and two other commuters kidnapped along with them.

City Round learnt that the victims boarded a bus from Benue State to Sokoto State on Tuesday before they were intercepted around Tsafe Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

The driver of the bus and some passengers were said to have escaped and reported the incident at police stations in Zamfara and Benue states.

Judith Benson, the elder sister of 29-year-old Iorliam, told our correspondent on the phone on Thursday that the kidnappers had reached out to the family and demanded N2m ransom.

She said the kidnappers revealed that they moved to Gusau where the mobile network ban had been lifted to make calls and vowed to return the victims to the forest if the ransom was not paid on time.

Benson stated, “The bandits have contacted us. They called my mother’s line and allowed my sister to talk to us. They kidnapped four Benue people together with my sister and another corps member named Joseph. The first time they called us, they demanded N3m. After we begged them, they reduced it to N2m. They said they would collect N2m for each of them.

“They told us they would wait somewhere in Gusau where there is network till tomorrow (Friday) and if they didn’t hear from us they would take them back to the bush. They said they wanted cash and that one person should bring the ransom to Gusau.

“My sister and Joseph were going to the orientation camp in Kebbi State. They boarded a bus to Sokoto from where they would take another bus to Kebbi. They were kidnapped around Tsafe Local Government in Zamfara on Tuesday.”

Benson said that she and her widowed mum were curious when they could not get Iorliam on the phone, adding that the mother had been in distress since the kidnappers called them on the phone.

She said, “The driver that escaped said he reported to the police in Zamfara and Benue states. We don’t know how to get the money they are asking for. Our dad is dead and our mum is a poor widow.”

The Police Public Relations Officer in Zamfara State, SP Muhammed Sheu, did not pick up our correspondent’s calls and had yet to reply to a text message sent to his line on the incident.

The police spokesperson in Benue State, DSP Catherine Anene, said she had “limited information about this (the kidnap).” “Contact Zamfara please,” she added in a text. PUNCH

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