Barnali Baruah Saikia, an Indian female boxer from Assam has been reportedly kidnapped in Nigeria by an acquaintance. The family has filed an FIR against the accused named "King".
Reportedly, the Assamese boxer had embarked on a trip to Nigeria on October 28, taking a flight from Bengaluru to Lagos to meet an online friend. As there was no communication by Barnali for the subsequent three days, her family was distressed. Barnali managed to call her family on her fourth day in Nigeria informing them that she was kidnapped.
Barnali, who is a boxer and gym trainer based in Assam, told her family her social media friend, King, sent an aide to receive her at the airport, who then snatched her passport and visa and kept her captive. The family has lodged an FIR against the accused who is purportedly a Nigerian citizen, as per a report by The Assam Tribune.
Barnali Baruah Saikia Held Hostage
The case of Barnali Baruah Saikia is a chilling reminder of the dangers of online interactions. Barnali met King on social media and struck up a friendship with him. Over time, their bond deepened, and they began chatting and video calling regularly.
In a sudden decision, Barnali decided to meet King in person and travelled to Nigeria. However, upon reaching Nigeria, she was abducted by King and his aide, Daniel. Barnali's family lost contact with her for three days, and it wasn't until the fourth day that she managed to reach out to them and reveal her situation.
Barnali's husband, Nayan Saikia, explained that King had been introduced to the family through social media about six months prior. King had gained their trust by engaging in regular conversations and video calls. As Barnali and King grew closer, she made the impulsive decision to visit him in Nigeria.
Barnali's daughter told the media that the accused was an acquaintance of her father and had allegedly abducted her mother barely providing her with food or water. The family is now seeking the safe return of the survivor who had a 14-day visa with a return ticket of November 13.
This incident serves as a cautionary tale that highlights the potential risks associated with forming online friendships, especially with individuals from distant countries. It's crucial to exercise caution and maintain a healthy level of scepticism when interacting with strangers online and online safety is paramount.
Suggested Reading: Our Women Wrestlers Are Fighting The Good Fight. But Why Is No One Cheering?