Abductors of Baptist church pastor increase ransom demand to N10 million
Barely three weeks after his abduction, the kidnappers of the clergyman in charge of the Baptist Church in Yakila district in the Rafi local government area of Niger State, Pastor Bitrus Gyang, have demanded a ransom of N10million before the cleric can be released from their captivity.
Pastor Gyang been taken into the forests in Zamfara State by his abductors who were suspected to be armed bandits following the involvement of vigilante in his initial release plans.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that when the cleric was kidnapped about three weeks ago, his abductors demanded two brand new Bajaj motorcycles at N500,000 each, 100 litres of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) and recharge cards of any network service valued at N100,000. After the negotiation, the bandits were said to have agreed to be paid half the demands.
According to a source close to the church, when the ransom was taken to the forest, men of vigilante corps who were following behind opened fire on the bandits immediately after the ransom was collected. Two of the bandits were killed instantly.
“However, other bandits were able to go away with the ransom without releasing Pastor Gyang,” said the insider source who craved for anonymity.
Further checks revealed that fresh negotiations took place between the bandits and the relatives. The kidnappers further demanded N5 million.
A senior church member informed our correspondent that following the perceived delay in the payment of the N5 million, the bandits on Monday increased their demand to N10 million.
When contacted, the Chairman, Niger State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev’d (Dr.) Mathias Echioda confirmed the incident, adding that CAN leaders have been engaged in fasting and prayers for the safe release of the cleric.
In a related development, bandits struck again in the area early Monday morning, kidnapping not less than three villagers.
It was further gathered that several houses were ransacked and set ablaze by the bandits who were said to have been angered by the absence of the residents of the affected buildings when they attacked.
Meanwhile, the State’s Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Wasiu Abiodun was not available for the confirmation of the incident. Repeated calls by our correspondent were not connected.
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