Three hundred and forty schoolboys who were kidnapped last week from Kankara Secondary School in Katsina State have been rescued, the state government announced last night. The secretary to the Katsina State government, Alhaji Mustapha Inuwa, co...
Three hundred and forty schoolboys who were kidnapped last week from Kankara Secondary School in Katsina State have been rescued, the state government announced last night.
The secretary to the Katsina State government, Alhaji Mustapha Inuwa, confirmed the rescue to the BBC Hausa Service.
He said the children were being transported to Katsina from the neighboring town of Tsafe in Zamfara State.
The governor, Aminu Bello Masari, who also confirmed the rescue of the students, said they would being given medical attention before being re-united with their families.
According to the governor, the rescue was a combined effort of a committee the state government set up including the security agencies and the leadership of Miyetti Allah.
“We have sent vehicles to convey them to Katsina. Once they arrive, they will be examined by medical doctors because they have been in the bush for six days,” Masari said while speaking to DW Hausa Service radio.
On the rescue operation, Masari said no ransom was paid to secure their release.
“No ransom was paid,” Masari said while reacting to a question.
He added that they would be received in Katsina Friday night under the escort of security personnel.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari would meet with them in Katsina today.
Also confirming their release, Zamfara State police commissioner, Usman Nagogo said the schoolboys would be handed over to Katsina State government as soon as investigation into their health condition was concluded.
He however maintained that all of them were looking healthy, adding that none of them was complaining of any ailment.
“The boys are healthy but looking very tired, we will hand them over to their state as soon as possible”, he said.
It was gathered that the journey from Tsafe in Zamfara State to Katsina is about 213 kilometres and might take about three hours due to poor road conditions. The distance from Tsafe to Kankara where the students were taken is 83 km.
Gunmen stormed the boarding school in Kankara last Friday and abducted about 400 children.
Four days later, Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau issued a statement claiming his group abducted the students.
Before the announcement of the students’ release yesterday, Boko Haram had released a video of the students, claiming they were still with them.
In the video, one of the students was urging the Nigerian government to withdraw its troops, saying, nothing could harm them.
It’s Big Relief For Nigeria, International Community – PMB
President Muhammadu Buhari last night said the release of kidnapped students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, was a welcome development.
He described their safe return as a big relief to their families, the entire country and international community.
In a short remark shortly after their release was announced, President Buhari expressed the nation’s appreciation for the steps taken by all involved to make their release possible.
A statement by presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, noted that the president specifically cited what he called the “spirit of partnership and the collaborative efforts of the government of Katsina, Zamfara and military leading to the release.’’
He commended the nation’s intelligence agencies, the military and police force for providing the environment for safe release of the hostages.
“The Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, and the army worked extremely hard. As soon as I got the information I congratulated them. The Armed Forces know their job. They have been well trained and properly motivated,” he noted.
On the issue of detainees held elsewhere in the country by either terrorists or bandits, the president gave assurances that his administration is aware of its responsibility to protect the life and property of the Nigerians.
President Buhari urged the citizens to be patient and fair to the administration as it deals with the problems of security, economy and corruption.
He noted that the administration was fully aware that it was elected to resolve challenges.
“When we came, we made efforts that yielded the return of the Chibok Girls. When a similar incident of school abduction happened at Dapchi, we successfully returned all but one of the more than one hundred abductees. When this latest incident happened, we put in our efforts and today we have this result to show,” he added.
The president pointed to the successes of the administration in dealing with security in the South South and North East.
He said the North West now presents a challenge which his administration is determined to deal with.
“We have a lot of work to do, especially now that we have re-opened the borders. It is unfortunate that the bandits and terrorists continue to get weapons even under the circumstances of the border closure. We are going to dare them. We will deal with all that,” the president further assured.
He prayed for the full recovery of the students, whom he said had endured significant hardships in the course of their six-day ordeal.
The President assured of the determination of his administration to return to safety all citizens held against their will.
Sokoto, Benue Close Schools In Border Areas
In a related development, after a security council meeting on Wednesday, the Sokoto State government has ordered the immediate closure of 16 boarding schools along its borders for two weeks to help monitor the security situation within the North-Western states.
The announcement by the Sokoto State government was sequel to the brief from the council by the state’s commissioner for basic and secondary education, Dr Bello Guiwa, on the security situation in the affected areas and the threats this portend.
The schools ordered to close with immediate effect include Government Girls Model Secondary School, Illela, Sultan Muhammadu Tambari Arabic Secondary School, Illela, Gamji Girls College, Rabah, Government Secondary School, Gada, Government Secondary School, Gandi and Government Secondary School, Goronyo.
Others are Government Secondary School, Isa, Government Secondary School Sabon Birnin Gobir, Boarding Primary School, Isa, Boarding Primary School, Balle and Boarding Primary School, Jabo.
The remaining are; UBE Junior Secondary School, Sabon Birni, Government Secondary School, Kebbe, Government Secondary School, Tureta, Government Technical College, Binji and Olusegun Obasanjo Technical College, Bafarawa.
According to governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the closure is for two weeks.
The governor directed the ministries of basic and secondary education and that of science and technology to temporarily merge the students of the affected schools with those of other schools for the continuation of their studies pending the improvement in the security situation in the affected areas.
A statement by Tambuwal’s spokesman, Muhammad Bello, quoted the governor as directing principals of the affected schools to comply with the directive.
This was even as the governor disclosed that the recent abduction of the students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in the president’s home state by terrorists is a product of a failed leadership.
In the same vein, the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has ordered the state’s commissioner for education to immediately close all boarding schools in the state to avert a repeat of the Katsina State incident.
Ortom, while speaking with journalists during his visit to the Correctional Center in Makurdi, noted that if such incident could happen in the president’s home state when he was on vacation there, then no part of the country is safe.
Ortom also urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the Service Chiefs to wake up to their responsibilities in the face of the numerous security challenges confronting the nation at the moment.
While saying that over 48 inmates whose offences were light were granted pardon during the COVID-19 lockdown as well as those awaiting trials, Ortom decried the high rate of injustice in the country where people who steal chickens and goats are imprisoned while those who embezzle billions are going about freely, saying, “This is an insult on our collective sensibilities. I want to say that the leadership of this country has failed, that is why we are experiencing this. If we are serious in our repositioning of the country, we must sit down and dialogue as a people.”
Boko Haram Invade Yobe Town
Meanwhile, gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram insurgents yesterday afternoon stormed Kusur Community, Geidam Local Government Area of Yobe State search houses and carted away Gold Jeweleries.
Residents of the area who spoke on condition of anonymity revealed to that “the Boko Haram terrorists came on a convoy of motorcycles around 2:00pm and searched for gold jeweleries, took some away from our wives and mothers and ran away”.
Another resident who confirmed to our correspondent on telephone said, “We have been living in panic throughout this week as people keep telling us that they sighted their movements not fat away from our community. We have fled our houses for fear of the unknown.
“I will like to use this medium to urge the state governor, Mai Mala Buni, security agencies to join hands to deal with the remaining suspected Boko Haram members and rid them from the area. We are in a very difficult condition; we don’t have anywhere to go”.
ASP Dungus Abdulkarim, police public relations officer. Yobe State Police Command, Damaturu confirmed the incident, saying “yes, we have received intelligence report that some gunmen on motorcycles were sighted around the Kusur area. Our men are fully on alert and are on top of the situation.”
He called on the people of the area to continue giving useful information to the security operatives in the state, particularly Kusur community in Gaidam local government area of Yobe State.