The military officer, Major Christopher Datong, abducted at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Afaka in Kaduna State, by bandits on August 24, 2021 is still in captivity seven days after his abduction.
Rumour was rife last week that the soldier had been killed but one of his family members told SaharaReporters that he was still alive.
Gunmen had last Tuesday invaded the Afaka barracks of the academy around 1am, killing two soldiers identified as Lieutenant Commodore Wulah and Flight Lieutenant Okoronwo.
They also abducted Datong and subsequently called the military authorities to demand a ransom of N200 million to free him.
The gunmen, who were dressed in military camouflage, were said to have beaten the guards and headed for the officers’ quarters of the institution.
A military officer who spoke to SaharaReporters on Tuesday also stressed that Datong was still alive, adding that rumour about his death should be ignored.
“As at now, there is a military operation ongoing to ensure that the officer is rescued. And I can’t divulge anything more that what I told you that the operation is ongoing because whatever I say now might jeopardise the operational action being taken by the military to rescue the officer. That’s exactly what is going on now, efforts are ongoing to ensure the officer is rescued alive.
“He is not dead, you know we are in the era of fake news and most Nigerians now write things in the press without verification or confirmation. The officer is alive and we are looking forward to a successful operation to rescue him. Reporting that he is dead from unconfirmed sources on social media is something bad, this is an officer who is married, he has children, he has family and people start reporting that he is dead. I wonder how these people will feel at the end of the day when this officer is rescued,” the source said.
Incidentally, the military institution is opposite the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, where 39 students were abducted by bandits on March 11, 2021. The bandits demanded N500 million a few days after the abduction.
But they were finally released after spending 50 days in the kidnappers’ den following the intervention of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi.