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By Daud Olatunji
THEY literally walked through the valley of the shadow of death and lived to tell the story of their escape. Indeed, for both Kudirat Balogun, the wife of a Chairmanship aspirant of All Progressives Congress in the forthcoming local government election in Ogun State and a hotelier, Otunba Olanrewaju Gbenga, their story can be likened to that of the Biblical Daniel who was thrown into a lion’s den and miraculously escaped unhurt through divine intervention. The duo who were abducted and later freed have since been sharing their experiences in captivity.
Balogun,who was abducted in her husband house while serving her children dinner, spent five days with the kidnappers in their hideout. Otunba Gbenga who was abducted at Palm oil plantation farm in Imobi-Ijebu in Ijebu-East Local Government Area of the state spent four days with his kidnappers.
Mrs Balogun whose husband was contesting for the post of Chairman in Ewekoro local government council of the state said she saw hell throughout her five-day captivity before her miraculous escape.
She was kidnapped penultimate Sunday night at the family house in Abeokuta at gun point. Vanguard Metro gathered that the kidnappers had arrived the family home of the Baloguns located at 1,Sekoni Street, Olomore area of Abeokuta on the fateful day at about 8.00pm and whisked the woman away at gun point.
One of the victim’s children, Kehinde Balogun who witnessed the incident, told VM that four armed men invaded their family house and asked after their father.
The 13 -year -old boy said he attended to them not knowing they were kidnappers. That was until the mother who was busy preparing food in the kitchen,innocently walked into the hands of the kidnappers.
He said his mother had no choice but to go quietly with the kidnappers after one of them dipped his hand in his waist pocket and produced a gun. They then led her at gun point to the waiting Toyota matrix car they came with.
He added that the kidnappers later asked him to lie face down before taking away his mother with these parting words: “Your father is a sure person, your Mummy will return soon.”
The young Balogun said, he thereafter raised alarm which attracted the neighbours, but that efforts to trace the kidnappers proved abortive. He added that his father, Mr Gafar Balogun, who was not at home during the incident came racing home as soon as he was alerted on a telephone call.
A visibly dejected Mr Balogun told VM that he reported the case to policemen at Lafenwa station but that the case was later transferred to Special Anti-Robbery Squad,SARS.
He added the kidnappers did not immediately contact the family, prompting him to appeal to the police authorities and other security agencies to help.
The following day, another set of kidnappers abducted Otunba Olanrewaju Gbenga at Palm oil plantation farm in Imobi-Ijebu in Ijebu-East local government area of the state.
Oloye was reportedly abducted by eight persons who were heavily armed around 9:pm on the fateful Monday. But he later allegedly escaped through the water ways by boat.
But five days after, the Police in the state announced that they have rescued the victims.
While narrating their separate experiences, the victims said they rejected food served them by their abductors. Mrs. Balogun who looked weak and was aided by her husband, said she was hooded shortly after she was taken away by her abductors.
Balogun said: “The kidnappers released me when they realised that SARs and other security forces were closing in on them. I was blindfolded, I could not recognise the places I was taken to; they moved me from one place to another. I was slapped severally by them and was maltreated everyday. They threatened me and forced me to obey their commands.
“They brought food to me but I rejected their food because I don’t know how it was prepared and what it contained. I cannot remember everything they did and the places I was taken to, but, I know I was in Abeokuta throughout the period I was with them”.
On his part, Otunba Gbenga said he was kidnapped on Monday August 22, 2016 around 9pm at Atan Ijebu along Barracks Road by four armed men.
He said: “They requested for N5million , I told them I don’t have such an amount of money and they started threatening to kill me. I told them if they kill me they will be arrested because I am an Ijebu man”.He added that the criminals who were shocked at his words , panicked and finally dropped him around Ogere area at night.
“I commend the Nigeria Police for their efforts. As soon as the kidnappers dropped me, I went to Iperu Police Station and the police men there came to rescue and later led me home”.
In an interview, the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, CP, Ahmed Illyasu, said his men are still on trail of the suspects and the long arm of the law will soon catch up with them. The Police Boss who paraded the two victims at Police Officers Mess in Abeokuta, said the two victims were rescued unhurt Wednesday night by men of the Command.
He said: “Following the incident, operatives of FSARS Magbon were deployed to comb every nook and cranny of the state and rescued the victims unhurt. The operation paid off yesterday night when the woman was rescued un hurt.We are still on the trail of the suspects and the long arm of the law will soon catch up with them”.
On the other victim, CP Ahmed Illyasu explained that he was rescued same night at Ogere in Remo North Local Government Area of the state. He said: “In a very short time those responsible for the crime will be apprehended and we are closing in on them”. He further said: “In this kind of situation, we have to secure the victim; thereafter we can find out who the hoodlums are and what they want.
“We have global tracking system which we have been using to track them. But the criminals are very intelligent, they are very mobile and also move from one place to another”.
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