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Herdsmen Abducted Us to Fund Cost of Bullets Used in Failed Operation – Victim

Chirmela Iroha, one of the five persons rescued from their abductors off the Lagos- Benin expressway said on Saturday that they were victims of herdsmen desperate to recoup the cost of bullets they expended on their target that escaped, The Nation reports.

Iroha, son of the late James Iroha (Gregory stage name) of the now rested television series New Masquerade and Chidioze Eluwa, Okoro Ohowukwe, Ndubuizi Owuabueze, and Ibeleji Chidinma (female) were seized at Ogbere by gunmen on Thursday while on their way to Lagos from the Southeast.

Contrary to earlier reports, only one of the kidnap victims is a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG): Ibeleji Chidinma.

The General Overseer of the church, Pastor Enoch Adeboye made the clarification on Friday night

Incidentally, Chindinma was the first of the victims to be rescued on Saturday.

Freedom came for the others a few hours later.

None of them was hurt although they were left to starve and thirst all through the period of their abduction.

Moments after the Ogun State Police Commissioner Bashir Makama briefed reporters on the rescue mission, Iroha spoke to The Nation on his ordeal in the hands of their tormentors.

He said they were humiliated and tortured with any object available to the abductors.

Iroha said: “It is an experience I wouldn’t wish my enemy to have because it looks nice for me to stand before you.

“You needed to see me when I got rescued. I was manhandled, I was roughened, I was tortured, name it.

“It’s horrible where this country is driving to. Those men shot for like one hour on the road until policemen came and they ran away and they took us inside the forest till this morning (yesterday).

“I want to use this opportunity to thank the police because the pressure they gave them led to our release. If there was no pressure they would have had a field day.

“Why I am saying this is because, when we were held, we were put in a swamp, we slept in a swamp with insects and reptiles.

“We moved like 30 kilometers inside the jungle where nobody has threaded.

“They were comfortable there, they have very dangerous weapons, they have different ammunitions; but the moment we saw police helicopter that descended above our head, the kidnappers took to their heels and at some point and they started being erratic, they knew that some people were on their trail.

“The local hunters too were always coming out. We used to see them. There are some areas they couldn’t get to because they thought people can’t be there but that was where we were.

“Well from their looks, there are some things I can’t say because it’s a bit sensitive because the police are on the matter now for the sake of not destroying the evidence. From the language they spoke they are herdsmen. No doubt about it. I wouldn’t want to go further than that.

“They don’t know me, I don’t know them either. I was in a bus, in fact they told us that they didn’t have any business with us, but the car they were shooting at drove away with bullets.

“The guy managed to go with two tyres and they turned back and descended on us.

“They picked us randomly; we never knew them from Adam.

“They just said their bullets would not go away, they needed someone to pay for it and they took us. You don’t expect them to give you food, you’re in a dilemma.”

Police Commissioner Makama said four suspects were arrested in connection with the abduction.

Makama said contrary to the report that the victims were all pastors of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), only one, a deaconess, is a member of RCCG.

Pastor Adeboye, the general overseer of the RCCG had said on Friday night that police investigation had shown that it was only one pastor that was abducted alongside four other persons.

He said: “People have been taunting me and challenging me that since I hear from God, how come this is happening to your church pastors.

“I want to say it has been confirmed that only one pastor of the church was kidnapped along with four other people.

In a testimony at the Redeemed Camp on Saturday, Ibeleji said their abductors were herdsmen and that she prayed that they might fall asleep. They did and she used the opportunity to escape.

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