From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Mrs Esther Akpe, the mother of the leader of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly Peter Peretorobo Akpe has narrated how she escaped from her kidnappers on Tuesday. According to a reliable family source, who was one of the first people to speak with her after her freedom, the 69-year-old woman said her escape was miraculous as the confusion within the ranks of the kidnappers aided her release.
According to her, two of the kidnappers were with her while others were in the creeks, where the Police said they had engaged them in a shoot-out. Realising that the game was slipping out of their hands, the two other kidnappers became more confused when one of them mistakenly shot himself in the leg after they had decided to move her to another village.
It was in the process of moving her and keeping her in the bush while they scouted for a place in the village that the woman decided to take her destiny into her hands and escaped. “Mama said as she was kept in the bush, while they tried to look for a place in the village, she decided to escape. She ran through the bush and swam across the river before she got to a safe place from where she saw somebody in the farm and explained everything that had happened to her.
The farmer now asked if she had any number she could call and immediately call was placed to Peter Akpe but the network was fluctuating and she called another of her children, Oyins by name, which also did not go through because of bad network.” Checks indicated that while their mother was trying to reach them, Peter and one of his siblings, Oyins were together. They were trying to call the number when the number called again and they were able to speak to their mother. After giving them the adequate description of the village she was, Peter Akpe was said to have contacted security agents, who went to the area and brought her to Yenagoa.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Government yesterday gave another version of the release of Mrs Esther Akpe. The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Daniel Iworiso- Markson, in a statement entitled: ‘ Mother of Bayelsa Assembly Leader Regains Freedom’ quoted the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Col Bernard Kenebai as saying it was a combined team of personnel of the State Security Service ( SSS) Joint Military Task Force ( JTF) and the Police that mounted pressure on the kidnappers leading to the release of the 69-year-old woman. According to the statement, Kenebai said Mrs Akpe was rescued by the team in a nearby village, Buluo- Angiama in Delta State.
He was also quoted as saying no ransom was paid, adding that payment of ransom as might be demanded by suspected kidnappers was tantamount to compromise, which was contrary to the provisions of the anti kidnapping law in the state. Kenebai warned those planning to stage any kidnap to think twice as the Dickson government would not condone any act of criminality as Bayelsa State was no longer a fertile ground for kidnappers. On the killing of military personnel by sea-pirates, Iworiso- Markson explained that the incident occurred between Angiama and Etelebiri communities in Delta State and not in Bayelsa State as reported.