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Kajuru Castle: Briton killed, as kidnappers demand N60m ransom

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Jude Johnson

The Nigerian Police and government of the United Kingdom (UK) have confirmed that aBritish national, Miss Faye Mooney, was among the victims of the attack on Kajuru castle in Kaduna last Friday by unknown gunmen who also abducted three others

This is coming as the kidnappers is reported to be demanding for a N60 million ransom in order to release their victims.

Mooney, who worked with a non-governmental organisation,  Mercy Corps, was killed alongside Mathew Oguche, a staff member of an international NGO, Safety Organisation.

Police identified the victim

The Police Command in Kaduna State has identified the expatriate killed by suspected kidnappers in Kajuru as a Briton.

The Command Public Relations Officer, Yakubu Sabo, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Kaduna.

Mooney was among the two people killed and three kidnapped on April 19 at a recreational resort in Kajuru Local Government Area by suspected kidnappers.

Sabo said Ms Mooney was a staff of Mercy Corps Nigeria.

He added that the police was still on course to rescue the kidnapped victims and bring the perpetrators to book.

On April 20, the command confirmed the killing of two persons and kidnap of three others at a recreational resort in Kajuru LGAs.

“At about 23:40hrs on Friday, some suspected kidnappers, armed with dangerous weapons, gained entry into a recreational resort called Kajuru Castle in Kajuru LGA.

“The bandits shot sporadically and in the process shot dead two persons including an expatriate lady and took away three others.”

He disclosed that patrol teams led by the DPO rushed to the scene and evacuated the victims to St. Gerald Hospital.

Sabo said investigation revealed that the victims, along with 12 others, were tourists from Lagos, adding that the incident happened during the after party at the castle located at the Hill Top.

“Normally, whenever such social events would happen, the organisers used to inform the police for security coverage, but the party was done without the knowledge of the police in the area as traditionally done.

“However, intensive efforts are being made by the command to rescue the kidnapped persons, apprehend the fleeing culprits and bring them to justice.”

British High Commission offers assistance

The British High Commission in a statement by the Head of Communications, Policy & Corporate Lead, Department for International Development, Mr. David Smith, in Abuja on Sunday,  explained that the deceased Briton’s next-of-kin had been notified.

The Commission stated that it was offering consular assistance to her family while also engaging with the Nigerian authorities on the incident.

While offering its sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of the victims of the attack, the Mission said it would not comment or speculate on the motive or nature of the attack ‘at this time.’

The statement said, “The British High Commission is aware of an incident involving the death of a British national and a Nigerian national in Kaduna State, late on Friday evening.

“Mooney was killed on Friday, 19 April 2019 in an attack at Kajuru Castle, near Kaduna, alongside a Nigerian national,  Oguche.

” Mooney was employed in Nigeria with the NGO Mercy Corps. Oguche worked for the International NGO Safety Organisation.

“Her next-of-kin has been notified and we are offering consular assistance to her family. We are engaging with the Nigerian authorities, and we understand an investigation is underway.”

Kidnappers demand N60m ransom

The bandits have demanded for N60 million ransom for the release of their victims.

Police sources in Kajuru said the bandits made the demand on Sunday through a telephone  to one of the staff of the castle.

The source said  Mooney and  the other person killed, came to the castle together.

According to the source, the  bandits did not come into the castle, but climbed a rock near the castle  and started shooting. 

He said the two mobile policemen on duty at the castle, fired back at the hoodlums who were shooting sporadically.

The source explained that Mooney and her colleague who were accommodated in rooms in one of the towers, got terrified and attempted to leave the rooms and in the process  they were hit by bullets as they attempted to run down the staircase.

“The bandits  climbed up the rock by the gate. When they started shooting, the two mobile police guarding the place responded, so they knew there were armed policemen inside and they couldn’t come in.

“The two people they killed were already tensed in their rooms in one of the towers. They were panicking and they rushed  out of their rooms and started running down the stairs. 

“So as they were running down the staircase,  the bandits saw them  and shot them. Their corpses were deposited at the St. Gerald Catholic Hospital, Kakuri, Kaduna.”

The source also said five people were  initially abducted –  four  staff of the castle and a bus driver who brought some guests.

“These people were somewhere outside the gate taking shayi (tea). But two of the staff managed to  escape from captivity and the bandits went   with three people –  two staff of the castle and the bus driver”, he said.

Yakubu Sabo, spokesman of the Kaduna state police command, was yet  to respond to a message sent to him on the Police/Media WhatsApp platform on the issue at the time of filing this report.

Credits| NAN, Punch, Thisday

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