Kebbi abduction: Bandits contact teachers, pupils’ families, silent on ransom

 

Families of the pupils and teachers kidnapped by bandits at the Federal Government College in Birnin Kebbi, the Kebbi State capital, have been contacted by the abductors, Delekesblog learnt on Friday.

It was gathered that the kidnappers reached out to the affected families on Thursday informing them their relatives were being held hostage in an undisclosed location.

It was, however, learnt that the bandits have yet to state any condition for the release of the victims as of press time on Friday.

The state chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers confirmed that five of its members were taken away by the abductors.

It was also gathered that the state government has ordered the closure of schools vulnerable to attacks in the state.

Bandits had on Thursday morning stormed the school and kidnapped scores of students and some members of staff.

The kidnappers, armed with sophisticated weapons, were said to have taken the victims in two Hilux Pick-Up vehicles to an unknown destination after overpowering policemen who had attempted to repel the attack.

One of the policemen was said to have been killed while a pupil was injured.

It was the latest in a series of recent attacks on schools abduction of pupils in the northern part of the country.

On May 30, over 100 students of an Islamiyya school located at Tegina, in the Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State, were abducted by gunmen.

On February 17, unknown gunmen abducted 27 students at Government Science School, Kagara, Niger State, while 317 female students of Government Girls Secondary School Jangebe, Zamfara State were kidnapped, on February 26

The State Chairman of the NUT, Mr Isa Umar, who spoke with one of our correspondents, said, “Yes, we know five of our members were taken away and the bandits made contact yesterday (Thursday) with the families of the teachers, but up till now, there was nothing that was paid as ransom.

“They (bandits) only informed their family members that they (abducted teachers) are with them. They have not even started negotiating because from the look of things, the government and security personnel are doing their best. The report we had yesterday, a number of the bandits were killed.

“And from the report we received this afternoon (Friday) that security forces have surrounded them and information has it that very soon, we will hear from the government. But unconfirmed sources are saying that those children were rescued, but I’m not sure; it’s just speculation because we have to hear from the government before we can confirm anything.”

When asked whether the union could confirm the number of pupils kidnapped at the school, Umar said, “We cannot confirm the number of pupils because they came in the daytime – just 10am, when they invaded the school – and you can imagine the number (of pupils) that escaped through the fence. And all those that escaped proceeded to where they could board the next available vehicle to their respective towns and villages. So, nobody can say the exact number that was taken away.”

He also said the abduction of the teachers had become a cause for worry for the union in the state.

“You know the school is owned by the Federal Government. It is a federal unity school; the students are from across the federation and it is a federal government decision as to what they will do and the proactive measures they have taken.

“And to the best of our knowledge, the Federal Government did its best because there were about 22 armed mobile policemen that were attached to the school and, unfortunately, the bandits outnumbered them seriously because the information we had was that they came in hundreds, so you can imagine what 22 armed police would do to about 600 armed bandits. And their weapons are far more sophisticated and better than the one mobile (police) personnel carry,” Umar added.

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