Two members of a notorious kidnapping gang who took part in the 2018 abduction of four American and Canadian expatriates, working in Kaduna State have alleged that an unidentified person gave them accurate details on the movement of the foreigners.
The suspects identified as Abdulmumin Adamu and Usman Abdulahi were nabbed by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team, IRT while several others died during a shootout with security operatives.
It could be recalled that sometime in January 2018, four expatriates were kidnapped along Kwoi-Jere Road in Kagarko Local Government Area of Kaduna State by suspected herdsmen on January 16, 2018.
They were two Canadians identified as Nate Vangeest and a woman, Rachel Kelly while the other two who are Americans were identified as John Kirlin and Dean Slocum. The victims had visited Kafanchan and Kaura to inspect an ongoing project, but were ambushed on their way back.
The heavily armed gunmen numbering about 13 overpowered the two mobile police escorts, killed them before whisking away the expatriates into the thick forest where they spent four nights. The kidnappers were alleged to have collected N100m from government before they were released.
According to a police source, four other members of the gang, including their dreaded leader, identified simply as Dogo, were gunned down when operatives of the IRT acting on the directives of the Inspector General Police, Adamu Mohammed, stormed the gang’s camp located inside a deep forest in Kuiere near Kagarko Local Government area of Kaduna State.
IRT operatives trailed the suspects, who were also known to be herdsmen, into the Kagarko forest where they had an exchange of gunfire with the bandits when they approached the camp but, two members of the gang, Abdulmimini Adamu and Usman Abdulahi, managed to escape from the scene but were later arrested by the IRT operatives in Kano and Kaduna State. Adamu was trailed to Kano states through the aid of information gathered from the camp in Kuiere while Abdulahi was caught in his farm, where he had gone to hide to evade police arrest.
We were nice to them
The suspects told the police during interrogation that they were nice to the foreigners because the person who gave them the job warned that the only way money will be paid is if they were handled well.
According to 20-year-old Adamu, after their victims were successfully moved to their hideout, his duty was to ensure that they were well fed. “I am a native of Igabi Local Government Area in Kaduna State and married with a child. I am a farmer and a cattle rearer before I joined the kidnapping business. We discovered that most of our mates and the younger ones were no longer going to farm but were spending so much money. No one is interested in trekking for months waiting for his cattle to mature. The risk was too much and cattle rustlers were everywhere. You will suffer and one Fulani man because he thinks that he can shoot will seize your cows. We lost a lot, so my boss, Dogo advised me to join him in kidnapping business. We started making quick money and it’s very easy to buy AK47 in the forest.”
On the expatriate kidnap incident, Adamu alleged that the plan was to kill anyone who dares to stop them. “Dogo assembled us to get ready that ‘oyibo’ people are coming. We attacked the expatriates along Jere Road at the Southern Kaduna area of the state and an informant gave us the job. We were nine persons that took part in the attack; five of us were armed with Ak-47 rifles, while four of us were holding sticks. I was holding a stick, while the people who had guns were in front and when the vehicle got to where we were those with guns started firing and they forced the vehicle conveying the expatriates to a stop.
“We killed two policemen, took away their rifles and kidnapped four white people, two of them were Americans, but I don’t know the nationality of the other two. We took them into the bush and trekked all through the night until we got to the camp in Kuiere. The expatriates spent three days with us in the camp and we fed them with rice and beans and they ate three times daily.
“We also gave them bottled water to drink because they were white people. One of our gang members who understood and speaks English language correctly contacted the people that paid the ransom. I don’t know the amount he demanded, but I suspected the amount was around N100 million, but I don’t know the exact amount that was paid. I got N5million as my share after the ransom was paid. I bought some cows with my share of the ransom and they are presently with my brother in my village.
“I was arrested after the police burst our camp and I fled to Kano State. I was in Kano State to visit my friend and I didn’t know that the police were on my trail and I was shocked they caught me in my friend’s house.”
Begging for mercy, Adamu insisted that he was not the one that killed the policemen. “I was carrying a stick that day. It was God that saved me that day because those policemen refused to hand over the Oyibo people. They were shooting at us seriously but we were many and heavily armed. If they were wise, as soon as they saw us, they will abandon the vehicle and run. I was very nice to the Oyibo people and even gave them water to bath. Normally we rape the women but nobody touched her. You can ask her about Adamu, I know she will tell you that I was nice to her.”
The second suspect, Usman Abdulahi insisted that he is not a kidnapper but knows a lot of them who are his customers. “I am from Kagarko Local Government Area of Kaduna State. I am a famer and I am also into cattle rearing. I am not a kidnapper but I supply food items and cooking ingredients to the kidnappers in their camp. I supplied food items to the kidnappers when they kidnapped the white people. The first time they didn’t allow me to see the white people. They stopped me at a distance and took the food items I brought from me. On the second day I took the food items to the kidnappers, they brought out two of them and took them to a section of the camp where they could make calls and contact their relatives for the ransom. It was Adamu that contacted me to supply food for the kidnappers and he is the only member of the gang that knows me. He gave me the sum of N1million as my share after the ransom was paid.”