Nigerian kidnappers free abducted emir

According to his son, an emir kidnapped in northern Nigeria’s Kaduna state has been released, while 13 other family members remain in custody. 

The attackers, known as bandits in the area, invaded the palace of Alhassan Adamu, the emir of Kajuru, who is 83 years old, outside the state capital of Kaduna, early on Sunday and grabbed victims, including women and children.

Emirs are respected in mostly Muslim northern Nigeria as keepers of Islam and culture. They have no constitutional position, but hold influence and act as a conduit between the people and government.

“His Highness was released yesterday and he is now in the palace,” said Musa Alassan Adamu, the emir’s eldest son.

“He was dropped by his captors outside the town from where he walked to the palace,” Adamu told AFP.

He stated that the king was taken to a hospital for medical examinations, and that he was found to be in good health.

The bandits are still holding 13 members of the family,” the son said.

Initially, twelve members of the emir’s family were assumed to have been kidnapped along with him. 

The emir addresses his admirers in a video tape viewed by AFP, who have come to sympathize with him since his release. 

As soon as he started speaking, he burst into tears. 

The kidnappers had contacted the palace demanding ransom in exchange for the release of the other hostages, according to a royal source. 

Kaduna police have yet to remark on the event. 

Kidnapping-for-ransom gangs have recently targeted Kaduna, taking students and travelers on roads, but the emir’s kidnapping was the first time such a high-profile victim had been abducted.

In recent years, gangs of cattle thieves and kidnappers have terrorized northwest and central Nigeria, killing and abducting villagers and taking livestock after plundering and burning homes. 

Recently, criminals have been assaulting schools and kidnapping pupils in order to extract a ransom from parents. 

Since December, over 1,000 pupils have been kidnapped. 

In the latest mass abduction targeting schools, more than 100 kids were abducted from a boarding school in Kaduna state on July 5.

Educator, writer and legal researcher at Alafarika for Studies and Consultancy.

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