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‘How We Escaped’, Victims Abducted From Benue Links Bus Speak

Three victims who escaped from the captors of Benue Links passengers have narrated their ordeals.

The victims – two males and a female – were among 18 passengers abducted when they were travelling along the dilapidated Naka-Makurdi road.

Speaking with journalists, a female victim simply identified as Blessing, said the incident happened at about 3pm on Thursday (five days ago).

She said, “The kidnappers stopped the vehicle. We had passed the soldiers spot and then got to their own spot. We thought they were soldiers but we did not know that they were armed men. They were wearing army uniforms and welding guns. They shot into the air and still holding some people inside the bush. They were up to 15 in number. I escaped in the night. I slept in the bush that night.

“On Sunday I came out, went to the park and arrived here in the evening. I was coming from Otukpo to Makurdi enroute to Abuja. They made us walk for over 40 minutes and kept changing location. They spoke in English, their local dialect and Hausa. They were not masked. It was around midnight that I sneaked out of the line and escaped.”

Another victim, who didn’t disclose his name, added, “Before now, people thought these kidnappings were propaganda by former Governor Samuel Ortom. I must say he is my hero. This was what he tried to avoid. I think the present government should continue from where he stopped.

“Nobody is safe in this state. The security men heard gunshot but could not come because they needed to get signal. We need security team that will be proactive. I saw five of them heavily armed shooting sporadically but they shot at nobody. They were shouting ‘move or I waste you.”

Also, Raymond Lubem Mbabov, the third victim explained that, “On Thursday I was coming back after attending a Chinese Exhibition in Lagos. I usually travel by air but due to the cost I decided to go by road. We got to Taraku and the driver of the vehicle had to transfer us to Benue Links bus. I am not familiar with the road and one or two persons complained that the road is bad with lots of pot holes.

“It was a lonely road but the driver insisted that it was shorter. Just shortly after the military check point, we saw a group of people with torchlights. They were very aggressive breaking windows of the vehicle and said if we do not come down, they will spray us. The passenger shouted at the driver to open the door.

“The first person they identified was me, I was holding two phones and a power bank. We were 18 in number and they lined us in a straight file. As they were taking us to wherever they wanted, I had already made up my mind to run, if they shoot me behind at least my family will see my corpse to bury. I was ready to bear the consequences. I ran off with four others too going different direction.

“They did not bother to go after us but concentrated on the remaining ones. I went into the bush and there observed, that the military were riding on bike and shooting into the air to where they Benue Links vehicle was parked. I did not leave the rice farm. I later went to the military point and explained myself and asked them to try and rescue the others.”

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