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JUST IN: Troops rescue abducted Benue council chairman, others

Troops of 72 Special Force Battalion under 401 Special Brigade, commanded by Brig. Gen. A . Rabiu has rescued the kidnapped Ukum local government caretaker chairman Rev. Gideon Haanongon.

The troops recovered the Council Chairman and his Personal Assistant who had been in the kidnappers’ den for about two weeks on Wednesday in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area.

The troop said they acted on a distress call, carried out a rescue mission and in the process destroyed three (3) camps of the kidnappers.

“When we recovered him, we brought him down to our barracks in Makurdi. We administered first aid to him and also gave him food to eat. He is in good condition”.

While narrating his ordeal to reporters, Rev. Gideon Haanongon said on that fateful day, he was on his way to attend the burial of the late Ter Katsina-Ala and around Anyagba, he came in contact with some strange boys who were shooting sporadically and even killed someone.

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“At that point, I told my driver to stop the car and they took us straight into the bush.

“They covered my face throughout my captivity. I did not know when it was time or night. They kept us inside a thatched house without air.

“Each day, the soldiers will come shooting but they manoeuvred their way through a bush path and kept us inside a river.

The soldiers destroyed their camps and they kept moving us to another place.

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“At a point, they told me that these soldiers were disturbing them because of me and that the Governor had appealed to them to release me and he will forgive them.

‘ They said I should tell the Governor to keep to his words and get them out of the bush. So, at 8pm on Wednesday, we crossed a stream and trekked a very long distance almost like from Makurdi to Abinsi and they removed the blindfold and asked me to take a path that leads to Zaki-Biam.

“But I recognized the village which is Tse Wombo because my daughter is married there.

“I must appreciate immensely the effort of the military because it was their persistent pressure that made the kidnappers release me.

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“Also, the Special Adviser to Governor Hyacinth Alia on Security Lt. Col. Alexander Igbaya Ashungu (rtd) played a significant role in my release.”

Speaking to newsmen, the Security Adviser, Lt.Col Alexander Ashungu, rtd commended the military for their determination in ensuring the release of the council chairman.

Col Ashungu assured that Gov Alia is working hard to see that criminals do not have their way in the state.

He said the government is meeting with stakeholders to find solutions to criminalities and other vices.

Col. Ashungu also disclosed that the military authority has rescued over 13 kidnapped victims recently.

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