A family member of the Al-Kadriyar sisters abducted by bandits in Abuja says ransom was paid to facilitate their release.
Quoting Sheriff Al-Kadriyar, the girls’ uncle on Monday, the BBC reported that neither the police nor the army played a role in the release of the sisters.
The uncle said a ransom was paid and the kidnappers dropped the girls in a forest for them to be collected.
TheCable had reported that the girls were “released around midnight of Saturday”.
However, a police statement on Sunday said “the relentless advancement of the Federal Capital Territory Police Command Anti-Kidnapping squad in a concerted effort with troops of the Nigerian Army” was responsible for the freedom of the sisters.
“The operatives successfully rescued the victims around Kajuru forest in Kaduna state at about 11:30 pm on Saturday 20th January 2024,” Josephine Adeh, FCT police public relations officer, added.
In another account hours later, Zagazola Makama, a counter-insurgency publication focused on the Lake Chad region, said the statement of the police did not “align with the verified actions taken by the army”.
The publication said the army only handed over the rescued victims to the police, and there was no time both security agencies collaborated on the rescue mission.
“Handing over rescued victims of abduction to civil police cannot be described as a joint operation, for God’s sake,” the publication quoted an anonymous officer, who was part of the operation, as saying.
“We have all the pictorial evidence marked with coordinates to show the time and location of the rescue which we have shared.”
Dismissing both reports, Sheriff said the family went to collect the girls after a ransom was paid.
He, however, did not disclosed how much was paid as ransom.
“There’s nothing like rescue on this matter, we paid ransom – even though I can’t disclose how much for security reasons,” he told BBC Yoruba.
“The kidnappers chose the day and the location we were to pick up the girls about four or five days after ransom payment.”
Sheriff added that a group of male relatives then headed to the Kajuru forest in neighbouring Kaduna state to find the girls.
He said it was on their way they stumbled upon an army unit and requested help.
He added that the army officers escorted them to find the girls – afterwards taking them all home by around 11:30 p.m.
“We are happy and we thank God that the girls were found alive,” Sheriff said.
The uncle said the intention of the family’s account was not to discredit the police but to clarify how the girls were freed.