Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Barely twenty-four hours after they were kidnapped by unknown gunmen, a petrol station Manager in Ekiti State, Mr. D. Alalade and his wife, as well as six others hostages have been freed from kidnappersâ€™ den in the state.
Alalade and wife were captured by kidnappers dressed in Army uniform between Efon Alaaye and Erio Ekiti on Friday. They later contacted the family and demanded a sum of N20 million as ransom.
But the Police Public Relations Officer, Ekiti Command, Mr. Caleb Ikechukwu, confirmed to journalists in Ado Ekiti yesterday that the abductees have been freed from their captors.
Ikechukwu revealed that it took the intervention of the combined forces of military men and police to rescue the couple and six others from the captivity.
Alalade, is the Manager of one of the BOVAS Petroleum and Gas Limited Filling stations in the State.
The soldiers and men of the Operation Flush from Ekiti State Command, were said to have invaded the expansive forest where they were held hostage yesterday morning and combed the area.
A source said there was fierce gun duel between the security men and the gunmen before the breakthrough was recorded.
The source said: â€œThey requested for N20 million ransom from the oil dealer, they later reduced to N15 million. They were constantly making contact with the family of the oil dealer on the deal.
â€œAs of this morning (Saturday), the family could only raise a sum of N1.2m and that was the situation before the soldiers and police stormed the forest and secured their freedomâ€, he said.
A source, who escaped from the scene confirmed to journalists that the couple were kidnapped at Efon Alaaye in Efon Local Government area at about 4pm on Friday.
The source said the kidnappers who allegedly resembled herdsmen dressed in military camouflage waylaid the victimâ€™s vehicle between Efon and Erio Ekiti. He said the abductors, numbering six wielded sophisticated weapons while performing the operation.
â€œAs they waylaid their car, the occupants of the vehicle coming behind them quickly ran into the bush to take cover. They even shot into the air to scare us and ensure that we waited, but we ran for our lives. We even thought they were robbers until we learnt that they have called the abductorsâ€™ familyâ€, he said.
The sprawling forest between Efon, a border town with Osun State to Iwaraja, in Osun State, had been branded beehive of criminals in recent time.
Prominent indigenes of the state, including the State Financial Secretary of the Peoplesâ€™ Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Kayode Oni, have been kidnapped in that axis recently.
Men of the Nigeria Army recently combed the bush, in a bid to arrest those who were taking cover in the forest to perpetrate evil.