Two Enugu-based property brokers – Mazi Uchechukwugeme Abonyi and Aja Uchenna Michael – inform RAPHAEL EDE about their four-day ordeal within the den of Fulani kidnappers
What’s your identify and what do you do for a dwelling?
My identify is Mazi Uchechukwugeme Abonyi. I’m an actual property agent.
You and two others have been kidnapped someday final month. Are you able to us the way it occurred?
Within the morning of April 9, 2021 I went to Amokpo Nike with two of my associates, Uche Aja and Emeka Ijegara, to examine a bit of land for a consumer. The land is in the back of Unity Police Station reverse Elime Property Enugu. We had inspected and videoed the ten plots of land and have been about to go away round 9.30am, once I noticed about 5 heavily-armed guys working in the direction of us.
In shock, I shouted, ‘Jesus!’ They instructed me that if I moved they’d ‘pin me to the bottom with a bullet.’ However I began working and abruptly felt one thing hit me and I fell down. I noticed my buddy, Uche Aja, preventing with considered one of them however they stabbed him. Ultimately, they introduced the three of us collectively and started to march us away. We have been made to trek and jog within the thick forest for about six hours continuous. The forest was so thick, one might hardly see the sky. I’ve heard of Sambisa forest within the North, however I by no means knew there’s a forest like that in Enugu. We have been climbing and descending from mountains. From round 9.30am when the journey started we didn’t cease transferring till about 3pm. In the meantime, these guys have been beating and pushing us to run. At any time when we stated we have been drained and needed to relaxation, they hit us with their weapons. It was a horrible expertise. Once we lastly stopped transferring, they ordered us to lie down.
What occurred afterwards?
They gave us our telephones, which that they had earlier collected. They stated we have been going to a mountain to make calls to our folks and inform them that we had been kidnapped. They stated we should always inform our those who they’d pay a ransom of N7m on every of us. Once they stated that, we started to cry. We instructed them our folks had no such cash and we have been guys simply struggling to outlive, working as actual property brokers. They stated that was none of their enterprise; it was both N7m every or our lives.
They ordered us to begin transferring once more. We acquired to a really massive river and so they instructed us that was the place they killed folks and threw their physique inside water if their family members failed to reply quick sufficient.
At that time we have been made to name our folks. We have been made to inform our folks to be quick in bringing the cash as the abductors had proven us the place they killed folks when there was a delay within the cost of ransom.
Had been your households in a position to increase the cash?
Sure, however they negotiated and agreed on N2m.
How was the ransom delivered to the abductors?
The place they stored us was about eight hours’ stroll to from the primary highway. After our households lastly raised the cash and organized for somebody to carry it, the abductors moved us nearer to the primary highway. They ordered us to lie down on the bottom whereas two of them went to gather the ransom from the particular person bringing it. The 2 leaders instructed the remaining three others they left with us to kill us in the event that they didn’t return. However they returned shortly later and considered one of two requested us, ‘Who’s Uche Abonyi amongst you?’ I indicated I used to be the one, pondering that our folks had paid the ransom and it was time for me and my associates to go. However he ordered me to maneuver apart and lie down. He stated he would shoot me for inviting the DSS and police anti-kidnap unit. He stated policemen might have killed him if not that they have been clumsy of their shootings. He stated since he escaped being killed, he would kill me and ship my useless physique to my brother to show him a lesson to not name the police subsequent time.
What did you do when he stated that?
I began pleading with him, asking him to provide me one other likelihood. I begged the man to forgive my brother. I stated my brother couldn’t have introduced the police to assault him. I attempted every little thing to persuade him to not kill me. After a while, he stated I had just one likelihood to get another person to ship the cash to them. He stated he didn’t know why one thing was telling him to not shoot me as a result of the conventional factor they did if anybody known as the police for them was to kill the sufferer. He stated in my case one thing was telling him to not shoot me. I pleaded with him to please take heed to that factor and spare my life.
I requested my buddy, Emeka, to make the decision and organize for another person, who is aware of the terrain, to carry the ransom. It was that one that introduced the ransom to them. They freed us to go after they acquired the ransom.
What’s your identify?
My identify is Aja Uchenna Michael
Are you able to briefly narrate your encounter with the abductors?
As my buddy had stated, we have been kidnapped round 9am on Friday, April 9 after we went to examine a bit of land. After I heard him (Abonyi) shout ‘Jesus!’ I used to be shocked and requested him what occurred. On turning round, I noticed a Fulani man carrying an AK-47 rifle, working in the direction of us. Out of concern we dispersed, working in numerous instructions. Little did we all know that they (kidnappers) have been 5 in quantity and so they had already taken positions. As I used to be working, I tripped over one thing and fell down. I stood up and continued working after which I observed that somebody was chasing me. The particular person overtook me, pointed a pistol at me and ordered me to return. I used to be scared. When he noticed that I wasn’t transferring, he introduced out his machete and began swinging it in my face. As I used to be telling him I couldn’t return there, he hit me twice on the hand with the machete. I needed to begin defending myself.
I rushed at him and began scuffling with him for the management of the gun. As we have been each struggling, one of many gang members got here and pointed his gun to my head. So, at that time, I needed to give up, seeing that they had overpowered me.
They took me to the place they stored my associates and began threatening to kill us. They pointed at me notably, saying they’d kill me for attacking their brother. They took our wallets, eliminated our cash and returned the wallets to us. Then they marched us into the forest. We walked contained in the forest for over six hours continuous. The abductors will need to have been on medication as a result of we couldn’t sustain with their tempo and so they stored hitting us with machete, knife, something of their palms. The humorous factor is that these folks know the terrain too nicely. It’s like they demarcated space and prevented paths which may result in the place persons are. They have been speaking amongst themselves by whistling. We have been fully within the thick forest and we couldn’t even see the sky.
What did they do to you within the forest?
After we stopped transferring within the night and so they ordered us to name our folks, they led us to a distinct location the place we might get water. We drink the water there fortunately as a result of we have been extremely dehydrated already. Within the evening, we slept within the forest. After which the subsequent morning, as early as 4am, they woke us up and moved us to a different location. As a matter of truth, we by no means spent greater than three hours in a specific location. That exhibits you the way skilled these persons are.
Had been you fed by the abductors?
They didn’t give us something like meals or snacks for the 4 days that we have been of their den. We have been simply ingesting water – we drank no matter water we might discover for these 4 days.
In case you are given safety, are you able to hint the place within the forest the place you have been stored for these 4 days?
No. We weren’t stored in a single location to begin with. And if that they had left us in that forest to search out our method out, we wouldn’t have been in a position to get out by ourselves.
How have you learnt that your kidnappers have been Fulani?
They spoke Fulani (language), they dressed like Fulani folks. I grew up in a spot the place some Fulani folks settled; so, I do know them once I see them.
What sort of weapons did they carry?
They carried military-like weapons. I noticed AK-49 and pump-action weapons – very heavy weapons. In addition they had daggers and machetes.
Are you by any means saying that these kidnappers might need navy background?
I don’t understand how they got here throughout these weapons and I don’t assume they have been troopers; however then I do know that for them to entry these weapons, they have to both have connections in excessive locations or they killed navy personnel and picked up their rifles.
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