Jennifer Iorliam, one of the two corps members who recently regained their freedom from bandits’ den, has recounted their seven-day plight in captivity.
Iorliam said their kidnappers gave them poor food and dirty water during the week-long traumatic stay in captivity.
Joseph Aondona – another corps member – and four others were abducted last Tuesday on their way to resume at the National Youth Service Corps orientation camp in Kebbi State.
They were freed on Tuesday after their abductors collected N9m ransom. They had boarded a bus from Benue State to Sokoto State before their vehicle was intercepted around Tsafe Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
The corps members were supposed to board another bus from Sokoto to their destination in Kebbi State.
Amid the telecommunication shutdown in many parts of Zamfara State, the bandits reached out to the victims’ families, demanding N2m ransom each.
Speaking on the ugly incident, Iorliam said their bus driver had slowed down to navigate through the potholes on the road when the kidnappers shot into the air and came out from the bush
She said, “Some of them were dressed in military camouflage. They ordered us from the vehicle and took us into the bush. The driver and one other person escaped. The bandits collected the money we had on us and led us deeper into the bush where some people carried us on motorcycles.
“They stopped at a stream and asked us to cross to the other side. We continued the journey, climbing mountains before we got to where they held other people captive. There were many people there; I couldn’t count them. That night, some people escaped. The next day, they started chaining us so that we would not escape.”
Iorliam stated that two days later, the bandits took them out on bikes to search for a mobile network, adding that after a long journey along the bush path, the abductors found a network on a mountain and contacted their families for ransom.
She said the kidnappers returned them to the den and took them to another location after two days for further negotiation of ransoms on the phone.
She said, “We got scared at a point when there were disagreements over the ransoms. They were threatening to kill us. For the seven days that we spent there, they were giving us bread and biscuits. They gave us stagnant, muddy water to drink. When we fell sick, they gave us the same water to drink.
“I had a stomach ache one day, and the other time, I had a serious fever. They boiled the dirty water and gave it to me to drink. The nasty memory is still fresh. Even when I am in the midst of people, it keeps replaying in my head.”
The corps member said she and Aondona had been redeployed to Benue State for the one-year mandatory NYSC scheme.