Fulani herdsmen kidnap 4 foreigners, join search party to find them

Herdsmen who kidnapped 4 Turkish citizens
Herdsmen who kidnapped 4 Turkish citizens

Mr Usman Abubakar 36, aka Small, has narrated to operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT), how he and other cattle farmers abducted four Turkish national in Kwara State and then later pretended they were assisting police to search for the foreigners.

Abubakar was among three men arrested by IRT operatives. Others are Mohammed Bello 29, and Guntu Makaye 33, for abducting some Turkish nationals in Kwara State.

The expatriates are part of those working with a construction company in Kwara State. Police said that the Turkish men were rescued without payment of any ransom.

When the victims were abducted, their company had petitioned the IGP, Mohammed Adamu, who instructed the head of the IRT, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, to ensure everything possible was done to rescue the men unhurt.

The victims were kidnapped at Bakugo area and taken to Solo Kutru Forest, which shares a boundary between Kogi and Kwara states.

The operatives, working on the information at their disposals, mobilised and contacted local vigilante men in the community where the men were kidnapped. It would be later discovered that some of the local vigilante members, while pretending to assist the police in hunting for the kidnappers, were actually the kidnappers.

A police source said: ‘We engaged the local vigilante men because they are familiar with the forest terrain. The person negotiating for the kidnappers called us and we spoke. At a point, they complained that we were putting too much pressure on them. We travelled to Kishi in Oyo State, and finally arrested two of the key suspects. We also arrested the last suspect in Share area of Kwara State and recovered one AK47 rifle.”

Abubakar, who said that he has two wives and eight children, added that he was a farmer and also into cattle rearing.

He said: “ I rear cows within the riverine areas. I feed them during the raining seasons and on dry seasons, I take them to dry land to feed from crops in people’s farms. Three months ago, Buba Aliyu, Mohammed Bello, Tanbaya Gada and Tanbaya Korner, who are all cattle farmers, called and told me that there was a job we could do. In fact, I was in my house when Buba called and invited me to a meeting, which we had at Garage of Patigi. Buba brought three AK47 rifles to the meeting. The men present at the meeting on that fateful day were about 10. Buba and three other persons had rifles.”

He said that after discussing how to go about the abduction, they swung into action. They stormed a beer parlour, where they know the Turkish workers used to frequent.

They grabbed four Turkish men and carried them away on motorcycles.

Abubakar said: “We took them to Isolu Koturu Forests, which shared a boundary between Kogi and Kwara states. I didn’t follow them into the forest because we had just only four motorcycles. We demanded N16million ransom. But while we were waiting for the ransom, we got information that policemen and vigilante men were in the forest, looking for us. We escaped from the forest and ran back into town. The truth is that I’m a member of the vigilante group. I then joined my vigilante group in searching for the expatriates. I was the one that later led the vigilante to the camp where the expatriates were rescued. My members didn’t recognise me when I led police to the camp because it was dark. One of our members, Guntu, was even the person that carried one of the expatriates out of the bush. But after that, I became afraid that police will track and arrest me and it was true. They finally found out and arrested me.”

Bello, who also has two wives and two children, said that the abduction of the Turkish citizens, was his first operation.

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