6 Days And A Night In The Hand Of Kidnappers: My Encounter III — Buhari A. Sa'ee
It was our first day but the level of commitment shown by other victims in calling their families/rescuers couldn't be overemphasized. So we had to emulate from it. Because it is either they have gone through whole lot of torture and change of camp(s) or they have possibly seen so many terrible things and are scared to add a day in the forest. Yes, if you overstayed in a particular camp because your family couldn't meet the required price, they'd take you to another camp, more tougher than the previous one because they have many camps in the forest. They'd scare you with several gunshots and oftentimes communicate using gunshots from one camp to another. Most of the videos they watch, are gunfight movies.
I was ealier relieved from fetching water because of the deep cut on my foot but when the overall Oga left and another person was in charge, he said NO that I must go and fetch water too. What other option did I had than to say yes. Of course I was scared. The new Commander in charge was the one who beat me most. But were still hopeful that things would become normal. We all pray.
Hussaini's family had called severally and promised to be on their way in the early hours of Saturday. Aliyu, our partner, his rescuer urged the kidnappers to please consider his stance as he was at the Maulud ground but would either send someone on Saturday or bring the ransom on Sunday himself which they accepted. At the same moment, Kabiru's family were said to be on their way too and would possibly make it at the same time together with hussaini's family.
(Saturday 6th April, 2019)
The normal routine is that after the breakfast, it is phone session. Hussaini's family called and said they are on their way and would probably be there at around 10am or so. Kabiru's family too were on their way but even then, I doubted the possibility of making it at the same time with that of Hussaini.
We were all compelled to make calls. When I called home, they said they had certain amount at hand. I was impressed actually but when the leader in charge heard this, he was frustrated but as a rescuer you had no choice; in this case, you always have to be polite and so my brother was like sir he is a student. That's another comment that led to a serious beating again. The phone was handed over to me and I spoke to my brother in a way that would motivate him more. When you're talking to your family, that's how you must sound; motivate them to do more or else, you'd have a terrible story to tell.
After the phone call, their leader called me and started asking me some questions: they said you're a student and I said YES. Where are you schooling at? I said ABU. What course are you reading? I answered Political Science. He's now angry and started insulting me that I should tell him in Hausa which I tried doing that. He said, so you want to be a Governor? I said we are just studying how politics is being played, how government operate and lots more related things. He said, so it is a degree and I said YES. As usual, he drew a strong cane and started beating me, that I am reading a degree yet doesn't have N20m. I had to tell him that as a student, no one is paying you but he continued beating. I wonder what would've happened had he known what Master's Degree means and that I have one.
Few hours later, Hussaini's family called that they are in Kaduna and a direction was given to them which they abide by and met with those collecting the ransom. After certain hours, they came back and told Hussaini that his people were here and that he should get ready. He was so excited that he's leaving and at the same time angry that he's leaving US there. Hussaini, let's go. That's what they said. But to be sincere, when they left with Hussaini, I became more scared than ever before. I had carefully listened whether I would hear anything like a gunshot because I thought it was just a decoy to kill. In the end, I heard none and deep inside I said Alhamdulillah and hoping that Hussaini is going to be fine. He is going to meet his family again.
Hussaini left and we were so scared because of the new method they wanted to adopt to treat us. We deliberately refused to bring money. But we shouldn't worry because we'd definitely be treated on that ground. That's what they always say. But in the late hour of that very day, Kabiru's family called that they wanted to be there today but the time wasn't on their side and the kidnappers doesn't accept any ransom in the evening, so they had to wait until tomorrow morning. That's another achievement, you know.
(Sunday 7th April, 2019)
Early morning, Kabiru's family made it to Kaduna and without wasting much time, they called and just like Hussaini's, a venue was given to them which they promptly made it to the venue and were in fact waiting for the person to collect the money.
This necessitated other captives to call home. I did called and luckily I got my brother. He started chatting with the leader and handed over the phone to me. When I collected the phone, it was on speaker. That's the rule. Before talking to anyone on phone, you must put it on speaker so that everyone would hear you. I guess there was something serious my brother wanted to talk to me about which made him asked whether the phone was on speaker or not. I couldn't hear him clearly, so I had to ask again. This time around I got it clearly but unfortunately their leader was very close to me and was carefully and keenly listening to the conversation. On hearing that, he started beating me again that I must tell him what my brother was saying. I had to be too manipulative.
Everyone made his call and were waiting for either the same very day or next to see what'd happen. Yes, we were so optimistic that all would soon be fine.
His name; Kabiru was called. Get ready, we are leaving now. Say goodbye to your friends. Kabiru was deep into tears. He cried not for any other reason but for US. We asked him to please pray for us instead. Let's all find our way alive and unhurt to meet our families again just as he'd soon meet his. He prayed for us sincerely before he left. Hussaini has left and now Kabiru. That's a nice thing. When we were kidnapped and taken to that forest, I thought they don't release people. That'd perhaps be everybody's assumption and now where is Hussaini and Kabiru?. Deep inside, I smiled even though I wasn't certain. Yes, scared of every move when you're with them.
It was me, Aliyu, Ibrahim, then Mike, Sergio and Rev. Father in the forest. Who'd be next as everyone was making his unflinching effort to either leave that very day or next?
A new method was then adopted by the kidnappers. New method of torture, of harassment and of frightening. I could remember in the late hour of that very day, we prepared to sleep, I mean were almost asleep, they suddenly woke us all up that we are relocating to another place. In that night, we trekked for many Kilometers and finally found a place where they asked us to sleep. If you want to do anything, talk before you're giving the permission. You'd be faced with new treatment, tougher than the previous. You could be transferred to another camp, tougher than this. Because you deliberately refused to let your family bring the money. That's the last/new sermon of the day.
To be continued...