Indian woman rescued after being held captive by Nigerian

An Indian woman, Barnali Baruah Saikia, who was held captive by a Nigerian man and his accomplice in Lagos, was rescued and brought to her country this week.

Barnali, a boxer and fitness trainer from Guwahati, Assam, was held captive by the Nigerian national simply identified as King, for 14 days when she visited Nigeria on vacation on October 28, 2023.

Barnali’s husband, Nayan Saikia, introduced her and her family members to the Nigerian about six months ago on social media.

Barnali and King grew closer through chats and video calls after that. As their closeness grew over time, she decided to meet him in Nigeria, flying there on a tourist visa.

However, it was not a happy meeting between the two friends, as he stole her visa, passport and money after receiving her at Lagos airport.

She was then held captive by King and his accomplice identified simply as Daniel and was unable to contact her family members.

Fortunately, she was able to contact her family members on the fourth day of captivity through a WhatsApp call, seeking their help in securing her release from her captors.

She was reportedly kept in a room and was not getting enough food to eat.

In the meantime, King called family members, including his parents, demanding ransom in exchange for his release.

He allegedly threatened her parents, which made them register an FIR at the Dispur police station, stating that Barnali was not allowed to reach the airport by King despite having a return ticket booked by her husband on November 13 , at 10:45 pm. .

The family also contacted the Delhi Crime Branch for further assistance to ensure their daughter returned home safely.

Confirming the development to The Assam Tribune on Tuesday, November 21, her husband, Nayan Saikia, said he has sought the help of Indian authorities to intervene for the safe release of his wife from King.

“I had known King for a long time. When my wife wanted to visit Nigeria, I asked King to show her around during his stay in the country. During the initial three days he behaved appropriately towards my wife, however, on the fourth day he took my wife outside to exchange currency but she never reached the bank as King kept her prisoner in a room for 14 days and stole your money, visa and passport. She didn’t even receive water to drink,” he said.

“Although they stole her money and passport, she was given her phone number to contact her family. She told us over the phone on WhatsApp how they refused to provide her with drinking water and food, so she had to survive by drinking from the bathroom sink tap,” she revealed. Nayan reported that the accused asked him to pay for her release.

“King said he would extend her visa because she was on a tourist visa and it would expire soon. I asked him not to extend her visa and release her immediately, but instead he demanded money in return to release her. I have records of payment to him of up to Rs. 1 lakh.”

Revealing how his wife was rescued from the clutches of her captors, Nayan informed that this happened with the help of the media and Nigerian citizens studying in Assam.

“When the news was broadcast on social media channels, Nigerian students studying here contacted their country to inform them of the situation. Furthermore, my friend owns a hotel in Nigeria, 40 km from where my wife was held hostage. He also helped us with the rescue. They tried hard to persuade them, saying they would be in trouble if she was not released immediately. Eventually, they had to release her and she reached Mumbai on November 18.”

Talking about the few reports citing police officials that it was not a case of ‘kidnapping’, Nayan said, “I don’t know what appropriate term the media or police would use, but my wife, Barnali, was held captive by evildoers and ransom was demanded from us for her release. All I know and care about is that my wife is safe and with her family.”

Nayan further informed that although she was not physically harassed when she was in the hands of the captors, however, mentally and physically she is weak as of now as she was denied food and water for the 14 days.


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