Bandits Receive Ransom From Sokoto Monarch, Refuse to Free Victims

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Buzu, second in command to the notorious banditry kingpin, Bello Turji, has reportedly refused to release 20 people he kidnapped in Gatawa despite collecting ransoms for their release.

It was reported how the bandits killed 19 and abducted 21 others in a night attack in Gatawa town.

It was also reported how the bandits sent one of the victims with a handwritten letter to the district head of Burkusuuma, Sarkin Rafi, asking for N20 million for the release of the victims.

Gathered exclusively from two sources, including one whose younger sister was among those abducted, that the bandits asked families and friends to collate the money and pay through the village head of Katsallen Kade.

The source, whose sister is kidnapped, said: “Buzu, taking decisions on Turji’s behalf, said the money should be paid through the village head. But we pleaded and negotiated with the monarch, who is afraid of going against the bandits, from N20 to N2 million.”

He said the bandits were eventually given N2.2 million but Buzu has refused to release the victims.

Another source from Sabon Birni, who also asked not to be named due to safety concerns, confirmed that the money was taken to the bandits but none of the victims have been released.

“The victims are being held in Suruddubu, which is all under Buzu’s territory. What I heard is that when the N2.2 million was given to Buzu, he insisted that the whole N20 million must be paid, and in addition jerry cans of fuel. It is becoming scary because the issue is just like a movie premiere,” the source said.

The police spokesperson in the state, Sanusi Abubakar, did not respond to calls and SMS sent to him on the issue.