From Jessica Tamaraduoye, Asaba
The Delta State Police command has stepped up investigations in the kidnap of 80-year-old retired army Major, Azum Asoya and his 55-year-old wife, Elizabeth, after their family claimed they received two parcelled fingers from the abductors.
A close family member who did not want to be named said the family has been negotiating with the kidnappers who initially demanded the sum of N30 million, but later reviewed it down to N9 million which he confessed the family still could not raise.
Upset at the seeming lack of cooperation from the family, the kidnappers had threatened to eliminate the couple and as if to drive fear into family members, decided to send them two parcelled fingers.
Our family source, however, could not confirm whether the fingers belonged to the couple but the state public relations of the force, Lucky Uyabeme, an assistant superintendent of Police. said he doubted the fingers were those of the Asoyas.
Uyabeme said he believed the fingers were those of dead people whom the hoodlums probably dug from the grave and that the abductors may have resorted to such a desperate act to force the family into paying the ransom.
He added that only a medical examination could determine whether or not the fingers belonged to the couple but urged the family not to yield to their demands, assuring that his men would soon close-in on the kidnappers and ensure the safe release of the couple.
Azum and Elizabeth were kidnapped on November 30 at Okpanam while on their way home from a burial ceremony in another part of the town.