After spending a week in captivity, seven National Youths Service Corps members who were abducted on their way to Port Harcourt, Rivers State from the NYSC orientation camp in Ondo State have been released.
12 NYSC members were kidnapped by armed men last Tuesday at the Rumuji axis of the East-West Road, in the Emuoha Local Government Area of Rivers state, according to a family member of one of the missing corps members who spoke to a well-known radio station in Port Harcourt.
Five of the corps members managed to flee during the event, according to the source, who declined to give his name.
The Rivers State Police had acknowledged the occurrence, but they were unable to provide information regarding the precise number of passengers on the bus carrying the young people to their national service.
However, a guy who claimed his sister-in-law was one of the abductors told news reporters in Port Harcourt on Wednesday that the remaining seven corps members have already experienced freedom.
The man claimed that they were released after a ransom was paid on Sunday evening at Choba in the Obio/Akpor local government region.
He said, “They were released at nine on Sunday night. Two girls and five boys, totaling seven of them, were released when I saw them.
“One of the parents who arrived there that day said they had paid a ransom. They were in horrible shape. They appeared to have used mud to rob them, and judging by the state of their bodies, perhaps they had been bitten by sandflies or mosquitoes while in the nearby jungle.
They went to the police station where the incident occurred to report themselves, took their statement, and attempted to recover their stuff.
In a telephone interview with our correspondent on Tuesday, state police spokeswoman SP Grace Iringe-Koko stated that the commissioner of police, Okon Effiong, had ordered additional deployment in an effort to rescue the corps members. She also expressed confidence that the police were in control of the situation.
The state police image maker was contacted and confirmed the corps members’ release, but she denied knowing of any ransom demands.
“I just contacted the Rumuji Police Division,” she said. The corpers are now free. On Thursday, the command will formally comment on it.