A four-man kidnap gang, demanding N50 million ransom, on Wednesday, abducted a 67-year-old retired military officer, Major General Peter Unode, in Ekiugbo, Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State, blindfolded and chained him in their den for two days.
They were waiting for the payment of the ransom negotiated with the family when the police, Saturday morning, stormed their den in an armada operation at about 8.00 am and liberated the retired army officer.
Delta State Police Commissioner, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, who confirmed the operation, told Sunday Vanguard on phone that police killed one of the kidnappers in a gun battle at Ozoro, Isoko North Local Government Area.
Police also seized two of the gangsters, according to the commissioner, who hinted that the residence used as operational base by the gang would be set ablaze.
Sunday Vanguard gathered the fourth kidnapper, who sustained bullet wound, was still at large, but police were hunting for him.
Aduba’s words, “The general was kidnapped on Wednesday. In a fierce gun duel, one of the kidnappers was gunned down, the rescued general described the raid of the kidnapping den, where he was chained as commando type and praised the bravery of the tactically disciplined squad, led by the Divisional Police Officer, DPO”.
The commissioner, who disclosed that no ransom was paid, asserted that the kidnappers whisked away Major General Unode in an ash-coloured Sienna bus after his kidnap, along Ekiugbo road, Ughelli.
Narrating his ordeal to reporters, Unuode said, “I went with one S.O Oyibo who deals on bamboo sticks, along the Ughelli/Port-Harcourt expressway. On getting there, we saw one Toyota Sienna, parked close to the caravan, where the bamboos were kept.
“And we saw the owner of the Sienna car defecating close to the caravan and we expressed concern why the man was defecating close to the caravan, because another who wanted to buy 200 pieces of bamboo from Oyibo also went with us. After a while, we saw Oyibo discussing with the man and as I moved closer, they stopped the conversation and the man zoomed off in his Sienna.
“After few minutes, the Sienna resurfaced and two boys emerged from it with pump actions and they were saying; na you say make our oga pack shit. They were three in the car, but only two came out and that was how I was bundled away through Amekpa.
“After a while, I was blindfolded and whisked away with impunity. As we were going, they said I should give them N50 million, otherwise they would waste me. And I told them I do not have that kind of money and that I am a retired Army General.
“And they took me to their hideout; a living environment. People in the area were speaking Isoko; the boys guiding me were also conversing in Isoko. I was hearing the sound of vehicles and motorcycles; the place was close to a busy road. And from that Wednesday that they took me until I was rescued by the police, I refused food. I lived on water all through.
“Later they reduced the ransom fee to N20 million, later came down to N15, N10 and N5 million and the boys felt insulted when my son they were negotiating with mentioned N450,000. They seriously tortured me coupled with mosquito bites. The mosquitoes took advantage of me because I was properly chained to a chair and helpless.
“I was chained on my ankle; my knees were tied; my hands were tied; my mouth was tied and I was still under blindfold. I was subjected to all forms of inhuman treatment”.