The kidnappers of the Pastor in-charge of a Baptist Church in Yakila town, Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State, Bitrus Gyang, have demanded a N10 million ransom to release the clergyman.
This is coming as bandits in the early hours of yesterday raided communities near Yakila town, during which three villagers were kidnapped.
Gyang, who was abducted about three weeks ago, newsmen learnt, had been taken into Zamfara forests by the bandits following the involvement of local vigilante in his initial release plan.
When the cleric was kidnapped, a reliable source in the church said his abductors demanded two brand new Bajaj motorcycles each costing N500,000; 100 litres of petrol and recharge card of any network valued at N100,000, but after negotiation, the bandits agreed to half the demand.
THISDAY was told that when the ransom was taken into the forest, they were unaware that some local vigilantes were following behind, and immediately the ransom was collected, the vigilance group members opened fire on the bandits killing two of them instantly.
However, other bandits were able to escape with the ransom but didn’t release Gyang, it was learnt.
According to findings, fresh negotiations took place between the bandits and the cleric’s relations, with the kidnappers demanding N5million for his freedom.
A senior church member told newsmen that yesterday morning, the bandits increased their demand to N10 million.
When contacted, the state Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend Mathias Echioda, confirmed the story, saying: “We are praying for his safe release.”
However, newsmen learnt that early yesterday morning, the bandits again struck in the area kidnapping not less than three villagers.
It was learnt that several houses were destroyed by the bandits, who were angered by the absence of their occupants when they struck.
However, police in the state have not confirmed the story.