Major Datong — not ‘Stephen Dantong’ as initially reported — was abducted in the wee hours of Tuesday morning when assailants reported to be ‘bandits’ gained access to the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in Afaka, Kaduna State, killing two officers and abducting him.
Multiple platforms had reported that his body was found, but FIJ’s findings confirmed that up till 10pm on Tuesday — hours after the supposed death was reported — both his family and the NDA got proof of life from his captors.
His abductors spoke with two different members of his extended family, both women, FIJ was told. They asked Major Datong to name someone he trusted the most whom they could talk to, and he did (FIJ will not name this person in order not to compromise the negotiations). Since Datong named his negotiator, the ‘bandits’ have refused to talk to anyone else but, FIJ understands.
“Every call they make, they give Datong the phone to talk to his self-appointed negotiator, just so that we have a proof of life,” a source very close to the family told FIJ on Wednesday morning. “He is alive. This much I can confirm. As of 10pm on Tuesday, he was still alive — and this was hours after the circulation of reports of his death.”
FIJ doubts, even though it cannot be entirely ruled out, that the Military will address rumours of Datong’s death.
“They are unhappy with the way information has been leaking,” a senior source in the NDA told FIJ, “so they are determined to control information”.
The NDA source also added: “The Army is very closely monitoring the situation but it does not want to use force because of the high chance of collateral damage.”
FIJ had exclusively reported on Tuesday that the terrorists got in touch with the NDA to demand a N200million ransom, but the defence academy was unwilling to enter any negotiation with the bandits.