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We have located landlords’ kidnappers, say police

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A police vehicle stationed in the area

A police vehicle stationed in the area<br />

••• Dispel rumours of victims’ return

Indications emerged yesterday evening that one of the residents of Isheri North Estate, Lagos State, who was abducted at the weekend by gunmen, had returned home.The police, however, described the information as a ‘rumour.’ But he disclosed that detectives have spotted the kidnappers and their victims would soon regain freedom.
 
There were different accounts as to how the man (names withheld) got home. A particular account said he escaped from the kidnappers den in the early hours of yesterday. He was said to have arrived home at about 4a.m.

Another account reported that family of the man who returned home yesterday was said to have raised N1 million ransom to secure his release and they were keeping the information under lid to enable the family relocate from the estate.

 
But when The Guardian contacted relatives of the concerned man, they all kept sealed lips, while families of the remaining three victims claimed they are unaware of development.
 
One of them, who pleaded anonymity said: “We also heard that the man had been released but when we went to their house, nobody gave us any information about it. Rather they claimed that they were still awaiting his return like everyone of us.”
 
Some policemen stationed in the estate, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, described the news as mere rumour, pointing out that if it was true, the rescued man would have shown appearance to the appropriate security agency.Assistant Inspector-General of Police in-charge of Zone 2, Onikan, Lagos, Abdulmajid Ali who was contacted, also described the news as rumour.
A police vehicle stationed in the area

A police vehicle stationed in the area<br />

 
According to him, “the story is rumour, but I can tell you that we are almost there. We have spotted the kidnappers and the victims and we would soon achieve breakthrough.”It was gathered that curiously, the abductors didn’t contact friends and relatives of the victims yesterday. They had called several times between Sunday and Monday, allowing the victims to speak with their families.

But it was a blank out yesterday, which many believe to be as a result of the invasion of security operatives into the estate in a massive manhunt of the kidnappers. They fear their conversations could be snooped by the police intelligence to track their location.

During their previous discussions with the wives of the victims, the hostages had disclosed that they were being tortured, a source said. According to the source, the kidnappers used their own number to call and demand ransom, adding that they have refused to shift grounds from the N300 million ransom for each of the victims.

He said: “We have been negotiating with them. We are also expecting their call. We have told them we do not have that amount of money they are demanding. We started negotiating from N20,000 per person and got to N250,000 but they have not shifted grounds.

“They told their wives they were being tortured, that the kidnappers were beating them. Their wives even heard them screaming on phone. They also said that the kidnappers read the news coverage of the abduction and were calling their names for identification. People have been asked to not talk to journalists or anyone. The estate association is trying to harmonise information to avoid conflicting stories.”



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