The abducted chairman of Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State, Rev. Gideon Haanongon, who was released on Wednesday has narrated his ordeal.
According to report, the abduction of the LG chair, his driver, police orderly and personal assistant while they were going for the burial of Ter Katsina-Ala, Chief Benjamin Fezaanga Wonbo, penultimate Saturday.
Barely five days in the kidnappers’ den, a family source told journalists through phone call in Makurdi, the state capital that the kidnappers demanded N50m ransom.
Speaking to journalists at the 72 Battalion in Makurdi on Thursday, the released chairman said that the persistent pressure mounted on the kidnappers by military personnel helped his release and that of his personal assistant who were abducted.
He said on the day of his abduction, he was on his way to the burial of a traditional ruler in Katsina-Ala when he came in contact with some strange boys who were shooting sporadically and even killed someone.
He said, “At that point, I told my driver to stop the car and they took us (himself and personal assistant) straight into the bush. They covered my face throughout the period of my captivity. I did not know when it was daytime or night. They kept us inside a thatched house without air.
“Each day, the soldiers would come shooting but they manoeuvred their way through a bush path and hid us inside a river. The soldiers destroyed their camps and they kept moving us to another place.
“They did not feed me because they did not have food themselves to eat. I was urinating often so they gave me banana leaves and it stopped.
“At a point, they told me that these soldiers were disturbing them because of me and that the governor had appealed to them to release me and he would forgive them.
“They said I should tell the governor to keep to his words and get them out of the bush. So, at about 8pm on Wednesday, we crossed a stream and trekked a very long distance almost like from Makurdi to Abinsi and they removed the blindfold and asked me to take a path that leads to Zaki-Biam.
“But I recognised the village which is Tse Wombo in Katsina-Ala because my daughter is married there.
“I must appreciate immensely the efforts of the military because it was their persistent pressure that made the kidnappers to release me. Also, the Special Adviser to Governor Hyacinth Alia on Security, Lt. Col. Alexander Ashungu (retd.), played a significant role in my release.”
Earlier, the 72 Special Force Battalion under 401 Special Brigade Commander, Brig. Gen. A. Rabiu said that troops recovered the council chairman and his Personal Assistant who had been in the kidnappers’ den for more than two weeks on Wednesday in Katsina-Ala between 5 and 6 pm.
In the process of rescuing the abducted chairman and his PA, the commander said that troops who acted on distress calls carried out a rescue mission and destroyed three camps of the kidnappers.
“When we recovered him, we brought him down to our barracks in Makurdi. We administered first aid on him and also, gave him food to eat. He is in good condition.”
Rabiu further said, “Early this year, we rescued eight female abductees who were kidnapped on their way to a wedding along the Benue-Enugu Road and even neutralised one of the kidnappers…..WATCH THE FULL. VIDEO HERE
“We are determined to secure the state as we have our men in all the 23 local government areas of the state…..CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>