By Elo Edremoda, Warri
Fifteen commuters kidnapped at the Ekreravwen section of the East-West Road in Ughelli North council area of Delta last Wednesday have been reportedly released.
The Nation learnt the 15 victims were freed on Tuesday morning after spending a week in the kidnappers’ den.
Also, the manager of a new generation bank who was kidnapped on his way to work in Effurun, Uvwie council area last Monday has been released by his captors.
The Nation had reported that four persons, including the driver of the inter-state transit bus, were released last Thursday.
The Nation had reported unknown number of persons had been abducted along the busy route, with about five sustaining bullet wounds in the attack.
It was gathered freed victims paid ransom ranging from N500, 000 to N5 million before they regained freedom.
According to reports, the gunmen led the victims to the point of abduction before fleeing to their hideout, which is estimated as five kilometres away from the attack spot.
It could not be confirmed whether all other abductees have also been released.
A source claimed more than 25 commuters were abducted but were later split into two and taken to separate locations by the over a dozen hoodlums.
Narrating the ordeal, one of the freed victims, told a source they were fed twice daily by women who supplied food to the camp.
“The boys were masked and armed with sophisticated guns. They threatened to kill us if we allowed the Police to know their whereabouts.
“The men among us were thoroughly beaten and injured by the kidnappers. They used the butt of the gun to hit me three times.
“Over 25 of us were kidnapped but midway into the journey, they shared us into two groups. Those injured were left to go. We had 15 of us in my group.
“We don’t know where the other victims were taken, but they were escorted by another group of gunmen.
“They took us across three rivers before we got to their hideout inside a thick forest. We were blindfolded during most part of captivity except when we are to eat.
“We saw women in the camp. They were in charge of the food. We were also blindfolded when they released us,” a victim recounted to a source.
The Delta State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya, however confirmed the release of only 11 persons when contacted.
She explained the Police only have record of those victims who reported to the them.
“We really don’t know about that. What we know is that the total number so far released is 11, including the ones that were earlier released.
“Because it is those who reported to the police station we can account for,” the PPRO stated.
She further confirmed the release of the bank manager, stating “he has been released since”.