By Our correspondent
A native of Aguleri, Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State, who was freed by his kidnappers few days ago, has described Umunze town in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State as an enclave of kidnappers.
Narrating his story, the victim, Nnamdi Ozoemena, who spent four days in the kidnappers’ den, said he was returning from Onitsha when he was picked on November 4, 2023.
According to him, he drove into Highway Petrol Station at the toll gate area of Onitsha when a white Mercedes Benz GLK double-crossed him and forced him into the back seat of his car.
He said: “There were 5 armed men, equipped with sophisticated AK-47 riffles; they dressed in police official jackets.
“When the armed men discovered there was no fuel in my 330 Lexus SUV, they commanded the fuel attendants to fill up the tank and in the process, another RX 330 also drove in to buy fuel and they also commanded the driver to join him in his own car while they abandoned the Mercedes GLK that conveyed them to the filling station.
“They blindfolded two of us and commanded us to face down and zoomed off. They drove us from the Toll gate junction down to Umunze in Orumba. About 3 hours journey.
“No police stopped them in the 3 hours journey, although we were blindfolded. I couldn’t tell if they drove through security checkpoints”
“They told us that we were at the headquarters of ESN in Umunze.
“My family said that even when they reported to Police, they tracked my vehicle and a moment it read Umunze, the police said, ‘it’s a no go area ooo na headquarters of ESN’.
“They demanded for 10 drums of bullets from us, which they said the cost was N1,650,000 each. Total of N16.5m, or 4 Ak47.
“When they saw over N4.5m in my bank accounts, they reduced their punishment and began to withdraw the money with POS machine.
“They demanded for more money and my family transferred an extra N1.8, making it a total amount of over N6.3m.
“They are fully in charge of the whole Umunze community. People come to the bush to lodge complains and they settle cases. Nobody dares invite police to the community. In fact, we were there when a palm wine tapper passed and they exchanged pleasantries.”
Continuing, the man added: “The palm wine tapper even asked about their commander.
“When they were releasing us, they seized my mobile phones and my car and told me that I should write my phone number on the car carpet, that they will later dump it somewhere the way they dumped the GLK.
“They said that the phone number I wrote on the car mat will be used to contact me by people wherever they dump the car and I obeyed them.
“When they were leading us to the main road after our release, they showed us some burnt vehicles and said they snatched them from military and police.
“We were only two victims in the camp. Their boss usually comes to the camp with bike. He doesn’t stay too long with them. Even the villagers respect him.”
It was gathered that Nnamdi was kept inside a bush between Umunze and Imo State for four days before regaining his freedom with a total sum of N6.3m.
He however thanked those who assisted in raising money for his freedom.