Again Ruthless Bandits Kidnap 15 Students In Fresh Attack

The threats of crackdown on bandits and terrorists abducting schoolchildren seem to have little or no effect on the terrorists as 15 pupils of an Islamiya school in Sokoto State were kidnapped in the early hours of yesterday. 

This comes after Thursday’s abduction of 287 schoolchildren in Kaduna State. On Wednesday, over 200 Internally Displaced Persons were kidnapped from their camp in Borno State.

President Bola Tinubu responded to the events by giving security personnel orders to ensure that everyone who had been kidnapped was immediately rescued.

The kidnapping of fifteen Almajiri pupils in the state’s Gada Local Government Area has been verified by the Sokoto State Police Command.

The spokesman for the command, ASP Ahmed Rufai, while confirming the incident in a telephone conversation with one of our correspondents, said suspected bandits invaded the community around midnight.

Rufai said, “They (bandits) reportedly invaded the community in the middle of the night and abducted 15 students of the Islamiya School.

“They also abducted one woman, who is a resident of the community.”

He, however, disclosed that the state Commissioner of Police, Ali Kaigama, mandated the Divisional Police Officer in the community to work with the special team from the state capital to ensure that the abducted students were rescued unhurt.

Also confirming the incident, the proprietor of the school, Mallam Liman Abubakar, said, “So far, 15 students are unaccounted for, but we are still counting.

“They (bandits) invaded the town around 1am, shot one person, and abducted a woman in the process.

“As they were leaving the town, they sighted our students rushing into their rooms, and they kidnapped many of them.

“We have so far counted 15 who are missing, and we are still searching for more.

“This is not the first time the village has been attacked by bandits but they never kidnapped any of the students until now.”

A resident of the affected community, Mansur Ahmadu, told newsmen and other people around that the bandits invaded the community in the middle of the night.

He narrated, “It was a serious situation as they killed a woman in the process before they abducted those students.”

Also confirming the incident, the member representing the Gada-East Constituency at the state House of Assembly, Kabiru Dauda, said he received a call from the village around 2 am that the community was under attack by bandits.

“I reached out to the local government authorities and security agencies, and I am sure that they are doing something about it,” he said.

Efforts to speak with the Special Adviser on Security Matters to the Governor, Col Ahmed Usman (retd.), were not successful as his phone indicated that it was not reachable as of the time of filing this report.

However, a top government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also confirmed the attack and gave an assurance that the government would do everything possible to ensure the safe return of the abducted students.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has condemned the abduction of Internally Displaced Persons at the Wurge Community in the Ngala Local Government Area of Borno State by a group of ISWAP terrorists, and the abduction of school-age children at the Government Secondary School, Kuriga, Gwagwada District, Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State by a group of bandits.

In a statement on Saturday, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said the abductions were unacceptable and against all the fundamental values of humanity.

He said, “The government stands resolutely against any form of violence or coercion targeted at innocent civilians, especially the most vulnerable among us. Our children deserve to seek education in conditions devoid of harm or threat of harm, and any threat to their security is a direct attack on the future of our country.

“While extending heartfelt sympathies to the families and communities affected by this distressing event, the President has directed security agencies to swiftly ensure the safe return of all abducted persons and the arrest of the perpetrators.

“The government will spare no effort in our pursuit of justice for the victims and in our determination to hold the perpetrators of such heinous acts accountable to the full extent of the law.

“The public is urged to remain calm but vigilant and to provide any relevant information that may assist the security agencies. Collective action and solidarity are essential if we are to effectively combat the menace of banditry, insurgency, and insecurity in our country.

“Furthermore, the government reaffirms its unwavering commitment to protecting the lives and property of citizens, and will continue to work very hard to ensure that the capacity of criminals to launch these attacks is constantly and irreversibly degraded.”

Vice-President Senator Kashim Shettima disclosed the President’s marching order to the security agencies on Saturday when he paid a sympathy visit to Kaduna State over Thursday’s abduction of 287 schoolchildren at Kuriga in the Chikun Local Government Area of the state.

He said the President had ordered the security agencies to leave no stone unturned until the abducted schoolchildren were returned to their parents unhurt.

Africa Today News, New York

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