Suspected bandits in Dandume, Katsina state reportedly murdered a health worker (name withheld) after spending weeks in captivity and collecting ransom from his family three times.
A brother of the deceased who spoke to HumAngle confirmed that the family had raised millions of naira to rescue the victim but it ended in tears.
He narrated that the victim was kidnapped on August 3rd, 2023 in Juruwa, Dadume by a terror group operating in the Axis. The terrorists later reached out to the brother and demanded a ransom of over a million naira.
After negotiating and raising the amount for ransom, they sent the money through a volunteer; “After he gave them the money, he waited for them to bring my brother. But they did not. They prayed Maghrib and Isha prayers there, waiting for them to bring him, but they didn’t. They slept there and waited till the next morning,” he told HumAngle.
However, the terrorists reached out again after ten days, demanding another ransom of N15,000,000. After negotiating down to N10,000,000, the family were compelled to seek public support as well as mediators to intervene.
“We were already in shock because they had disappointed us in the first place. Even if we had the money, giving them again will be difficult for us,” he added.
Efforts to come to a deal with the terrorists proved futile, therefore, they raised the amount through crowdfunding, hoping to rescue the victim.
He added that another painful aspect of the story was how his brother sounded sick and weak, during the few times he was allowed to speak to him on the phone.
“From his voice, I could understand that he was not in a good condition. He said he was sick. He does not eat food because they were not given food,”
“My heart ached. I was not concerned about the huge amount of money but of the wellbeing of my brother who was in their hands,” he said.
However, after paying the second ransom, the terrorists refused to fulfil their own end of the deal, denying having knowledge of all previous negotiations. They instead gave excuses and demanded a third ransom.
“From alms to gifts to loans, we sourced money from wherever we could. But it proved abortive,” he recalled.
But when the terrorists collected the third round of the ransom, they returned a lifeless body the family could barely recognise.
The deceased brother further described how the whole encounter had taken a toll on the family financially and psychologically.
“I would perform ablution and forget to pray. I always find myself in deep thought,” he said as he wept.
“Right now, even phone calls from people make me scared. Sometimes, I keep recalling the last discussion we had,” he said.
Northwestern Katsina has continued to suffer the trend of insecurity and terrorism in the region, recording cases of abductions and terrorism every day.
SBM Intelligence estimated that 3,620 persons were kidnapped in 582 incidents between July 2022 and June 2023, with reported ransom demands of at least $5 billion and actual ransom payments of $302 million across the country. However, due to underreporting, this number might be higher.