Abductors of the four construction workers with Tractia Nigerian Limited have demanded a ransom of N700 million after the company said it could not afford the N1billion earlier demanded.
Some armed bandits, it was learned stormed the construction site at Erena in Niger state, kidnapped an assistant chief technical officer and three other staff.
It was gathered that the abductors had earlier demanded N1billion from the company to secure the release of their workers.
According to a source close to the company, one of the victims had escaped from the bandits on their way to Kaduna while the negotiation is still ongoing between the bandits and the company.
The man, who has been reunited with his family, said he managed to escape in the process of crossing a shallow river when the motorcycles used by the kidnappers fell and rolled down the valley.
Meanwhile, banditry in the state took a different dimension as a source disclosed that armed bandits were backed by an unidentified helicopter on Sunday morning, when they attacked about four communities in Shiroro local government area of the state, killing five people.
Among those killed during the attacks was a pastor with his church burnt down, a blind man and three other villagers.
Over 1,000 cattle were rustled from the four communities by the bandits numbering about 50 riding an unspecified number of motorcycles.
A source close to one of the communities told our correspondent that an unidentified helicopter was hovering over the communities throughout the three hours that the operation lasted.
“We even thought that the helicopter came to attack the bandits, but it was only just moving round the communities until the bandits finished the operation and left”, the source said.
The communities that were overrun in the latest attacks were Nankuna, Nansa, Eburo and Lagodo, all in Erena District in Shiroro local government area.
“I am sure the cows they rustled are over 1,000 because they packed all the cows in the four communities.
They spent over three hours operating, and the helicopter was just flying around”, he added.
At a small settlement in Nansa, the bandits were said to have burnt down the entire farm produce in the storage in anger when they could not meet the people at home. Niger State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Wasiu Abiodun when contacted said information about the attack were still very sketchy and promised to make it public once he has additional information.