Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Ondo: Husband fleeing bandits’ den with wife shot dead, freed victim reveals 

The suspected armed bandits waylaid a Toyota Coaster bus in Ondo penultimate week, abducting 11 funeral guests returning from Edo.

• September 18, 2022

A recently freed victim has narrated how another victim was killed while trying to run away from kidnappers with his wife.

Tayo Olofinbinu, who was among the funeral guests abducted while returning from a burial event at Ewatto in Edo state, broke the sad news to journalists in Akure. 

Mr Olofinbinu said that the deceased was trying to “escape” alongside his spouse from the kidnappers’ den when he was shot dead by the gunmen.  

“There was another man who tried to escape with his wife one night, thinking that the kidnappers had slept. But the wife’s movement must have alerted the kidnappers. They shot the man dead instantly,” he told journalists while narrating his ordeal at the hands of the kidnappers. 

The freed victim explained that he and others travelled for the burial event in a bus with a convoy of a police escort, “but we couldn’t wait for the convoy on our return because we wanted to avoid travelling at night, only for us to run into the kidnappers who had laid siege on the road.”

He revealed that two persons escaped from the kidnappers while nine others including the couple were marched into the bush after they were seriously beaten. 

Two weeks ago, the suspected armed bandits waylaid the Toyota Coaster bus conveying the funeral guests and abducted no fewer than 11 of them. 

The victims who were returning to Akure with the hired bus belonging to Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo were attacked at one of the hot spots in Ifon, Ose Local Government Area of Ondo. 

Ose, an agrarian town in Ondo shares a boundary with local communities in Edo state. 

The bandits had demanded 3 million naira ransom for each of the victims to release them to their families.  

Peoples Gazette, last week, reported how the kidnappers released three of the victims after parting with N9 million as ransom. 

Speaking after he was discharged from the hospital, Mr Olofinbinu recalled how their abductors brandished AK-47 riffles and marched all the occupants of the bus into the thick forest. 

“We were only allowed to speak with our relatives after three days in captivity. And we were only fed bread and soft drinks after four days in the thick forest.

“I was fortunate not to have been touched throughout my time in captivity. But they (kidnappers) treated most of us badly,” Mr Olofinbinu said. 

According to him, the bandits hit some of them (victims) repeatedly with their machetes and even inflicted a deep cut on the head. 

“In fact, another victim who the kidnappers said was not cooperating with them was inflicted with a deep machete cut on the head. I am not sure he will survive the injury. I doubt if he would survive the injury as he was nearly dead by the time he was released.”

Mr Olofinbinu, who is a legal practitioner by profession, added that his family members were able to raise 3 million naira to free him from the hands of the kidnappers after a series of negotiations on phone. 

The spokesperson for the police command in Ondo, Funmilayo Odunlami, did not immediately return a request seeking reactions about the development, as the Amotekun Corps revealed that it is closing in on apprehending the criminals. 

Adetunji Adeleye, commandant of the Amotekun Corps in Ondo, while giving an update on the kidnap case, had said his men have been able to locate the direction of the kidnappers. 

Mr Adeleye assured that the Corps in collaboration with other security agents including local hunters are not resting on their oars in the efforts to rescue the victims alive. 

The kidnap of the funeral guests has generated wide reactions from residents of the state especially those who have raised concerns about the security of lives of motorists plying the inter-state roads on daily basis for commercial activities. 

A few of them have also asked the government to return armed military men to the dreaded Ose and Akoko axis of the state as kidnapping for ransom on the roads continue unabated. 

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