The Katsina State Government has hinted of plans to negotiate the release of 20 of its indigenes, who were kidnapped and sold to Burkina Faso as slaves, following their abduction by bandits.
Curiously, the victims, The Guardian learnt were sold to a human trafficker in Benin Republic, who then resold them to another buyer in Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso is reported to be a “country of origin, transit and destination for persons, mostly children, subjected to human trafficking, specifically forced labour and prostitution.”
A source familiar with the issue, explained that the victims were “kidnapped in Kankara Council Area and sold to a woman in Cotonou, who in turn sold them to another slave merchant in Burkina Faso.”
The Guardian also learnt that the location of the victims was discovered following an interface Governor Aminu Bello Masari had with some repentant bandits in eight council areas of the state.
The council areas are, Jibia, Faskari, Danmusa, Kankara, Safana, Sabuwa, Dandume and Batsari, and they share border with Rugu forest, a dreaded hideout for bandits.
Like several others in the North West geopolitical zone, Katsina is faced with security challenges occasioned by activities of bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers.
The challenge has led to significant loss of lives and property, with several kidnap-for-ransom cases, which often ended up with some of the victims never returning home due to relations’ inability to pay ransoms.
But the state government’s interface with some of the repentant bandits had seen a significant reduction in cases of banditry, rustling and kidnapping in the affected council areas.
Special Adviser to the governor on Drugs, Narcotics and Human Trafficking, Hamza Borodo, confirmed the incident, but declined to give details, adding that he would soon travel to Burkina Faso to negotiate the release of the 20 victims.
“Yes, I will be traveling to Burkina Faso this weekend to negotiate their release, but I won’t give you details until I return,” he said.