The peace efforts initiated by the Zamfara State government have continued to yield more fruits with 30 additional captives released by bandits on Sunday, after eight months in captivity.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that the 30 captives – 15 men and 15 women – were taken to the Gusau General Hospital for medical check-up immediately they were released.
Alhaji Abubakar Dauran, Senior Special Assistant to Gov Bello Matawalle on Security Matters, who took the rescued victims to the hospital, said they would undergo various medical screening.
“The captives were released through the state government’s initiated peace dialogue and reconciliation programme,” he said.
He said that the victims spent eight months in the hands of the bandits, and their freedom was secured after an “intense dialogue.”
According to him, the rescued victims would be transferred to rehabilitation centres for further counselling after the medical checks.
He said that government officials spent hours in the bush, moving from Maradun forest through Suhugu forest, in search of the rescued victims.
NAN reports that the victims were received in the hospital by the wife of the Governor, Hajiya Bilkisu Bello-Matawalle, who was represented by her Private Secretary, Hajiya Samira Bappa.
The wife of the governor expressed gratitude to God for the release of the victims, and appealed to the people of the state to continue to support the state government and security agencies’ efforts toward peace in Zamfara.
The governor’s wife offered cosmetics and toiletries to one of the victims, Shafa’atu Alhaji-Kabiru, who delivered a baby girl while in the hands of the bandits.
Ms Shafa’atu told NAN that she was kidnapped at Sakajiki village in Kaura Namoda Local Government Area of the state, when she was four months pregnant.
“I named my four months old baby Asabe because she was born on Saturday,” she said.
Another victim, Malam Abubakar, said he was kidnapped at Walo village in Kaura Namoda Local Government Area.
“I was kidnapped eight months ago. I paid N1 million to the bandits as ransom, but they refused to release me. I am happy that the state government’s intervention has made it possible for me to enjoy fresh air,” he said.