Armed bandits affiliated to the Abubakar Shekau-led faction of Boko Haram, Jama’atu Ahlussunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, have released about 21 passengers abducted in Niger State.
The passengers on board a Niger State Transport Authority bus were last Sunday abducted in Kundu village, near Zungeru in the Yakila District of Rafi Local Government Area of the state.
The incident, according to reports, occurred around 3pm when the bandits waited in ambush as the public transport vehicle ran into the blockade.
A video released by the group showed the passengers begging the Nigerian government “to do something” about their release.
Some children and women were seen crying and pleading for the government to pay the N500 million ransom demanded by the group to facilitate their release.
Also in the video, one of the gunmen can be heard speaking in Hausa, dictating to the victims what to say.
The bandits as well displayed their arsenal of weapons in a show of strength, threatening to kill their hostages if the government failed to pay the ransom or tried to secure their release by force. They also had a rocked propelled grenade (RPG) launcher on display.
The Niger State Government, on Sunday confirmed, the release of all the passengers on its verified Twitter page.
“The Niger State Government has succeeded in securing the release of all Abducted #RescueNSTAPassengers. Details shortly,” @GovNiger tweeted.
Boko Haram had in June 2020 released a video and confirmed its link with the armed groups operating in the North-West and North-Central part of the country.
Two months later, the group released another video where its members were gathered in an open field said to be located in Niger State to celebrate Eid-el Kabir, a Muslim festival.
The footage also showed about three fighters sending Eid greetings in Hausa, English, and Fulfulde to viewers.