The forty-four worshippers abducted from a mosque in Zamfara community last Friday have been subjected to physical labour on armed men’s farmlands, according to reports.
According to some residents who spoke to newsmen, the bandits had called to tell relatives that the captives were with them and working on their millet and sorghum plantations, but had yet to demand ransom.
A resident, Abubakar Bukkuyum, said the bandits were quoted as saying that the millet plantations are due for harvest and the captives must do the work for them.
Recall that last Friday, bandits abducted dozens of worshippers from a central Juma’at Mosque, in Zugu community, of Bukkuyum local government area of Zamfara State.
The residents said the armed men hid their guns inside their clothes and stormed the mosque when the Imam was about to start delivering sermons and they asked those on the premises of the mosque to get inside. One of the residents further explained that “no one saw them with guns, and many people mistook them as worshippers. Nobody paid attention to them because they hid their guns. However, shortly after they moved inside the mosque they brought out the rifles and fired some shots as a warning.
“They thereafter herded the congregants into the bush, but some of the worshippers managed to scramble out of the mosque to safety. The muezzin (the Imam’s assistant who makes the calls for prayer) was among those kidnapped, but the Imam was able to escape the assault. Some of those who were outside the mosque were also abducted”.
When contacted for an update, the State’s Police Command spokesman, SP Muhammad Shehu, said a search-and-rescue operation had already commenced.