Sunday, October 1, 2023

Abductors of Ondo church worshippers demand N50 million ransom

He revealed that the gunmen contacted him using the mobile phone of one of the worshippers.

• September 30, 2023
Kidnappers[Credit: Leadership News]

The suspected gunmen who abducted some Christian worshippers in Ondo State have demanded N50 million ransom for their release, Peoples Gazette has learnt. 

The development comes a few hours after eight of the twenty-five worshippers of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), Oke Igan, Akure, were rescued from the kidnappers’ den. 

Benjamin Akanmu, one of the regional superintendents of CAC in Odubanjo regional headquarters, Akure, confirmed the update in a phone interview on Saturday night. 

“One of those in captivity called to inform me that their abductors are demanding the sum of N50 million as ransom after their kidnap,” Mr Akanmu, a cleric in the region, said. 

He revealed that one of the gunmen also spoke to him using the mobile phone of a victim.

“In the process, one of the abductors grabbed the phone from him and said we must provide the N50 million immediately if we indeed love our members,” the cleric further hinted. 

He explained that only twenty of the worshippers travelling for a burial rite were abducted by the kidnappers as against twenty-five being reported in the media. 

According to him, the abducted worshippers were mostly members of the choir who took off from Akure on Friday to attend a burial, and were expected to return on Saturday. 

“But it was around 4:00 p.m. on Friday that someone called my phone that a bus belonging to the church was seen and abandoned by the roadside around Elegbeka, and nobody was inside it at the time,” he said.

He added that the church members have embarked on a marathon prayer to ensure the rescue of the worshippers.

“Nine of the victims are currently with the abductors while eight have regained their freedom, but we cannot ascertain the whereabouts of 3 other members,” said Mr Akanmu.

Funmi Odunlami-Omisanya, the Ondo police spokeswoman, had confirmed the incident in a statement, saying that the kidnap case happened around the Elegbeka area of Ifon.  

Mrs Odunlami-Omisanya had revealed that men of the anti-kidnapping squad and other tactical units were on the trail of the kidnappers with the promise to rescue the worshippers. 

Meanwhile, the eight rescued victims are now at the Ipele Divisional Police Headquarters in Owo, where the security agents are debriefing them.

A police source told The Gazette that the victims are assisting the security agencies with useful information before they are released to their family members. 

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