Niger State government, on Tuesday, confirmed the arrest of some armed bandits allegedly behind the abduction of about 200 pupils of Salihu Tanko Islamic (islamiyya) School in Tegina, Rafi Local Government Area of the state.
Though the exact number of the arrested armed bandits was not made public as at the time of filing this report, the state’s Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Muhammad Ketso, who disclosed this as part of efforts to douse tension, simply said: “Some of the bandits are in our custody.”
Speaking shortly after presiding over a security meeting that lasted close to two hours at the Government House, Minna, on Monday evening, the Deputy Governor told journalists that the security agents were already on the trail of the armed bandits to rescue the children.
Dismissing any form of ransom to secure their release, the Deputy Governor assured that the abducted children would be rescued unhurt and safe the same way the Kagara Science School boys were rescued.
He said: “We don’t pay ransom to abductors. All we are doing is trying to negotiate to see how we can bring them back and be reunited with their families safely.
“First of all, we are trying to get in touch with parents of the abducted children because traditionally some of them came from other states to acquire Islamic knowledge. The government does not know their parents or where they came from.”
He added: “We are still taking the census of the children to know the exact numbers that were abducted. Nevertheless, the government will do everything possible to ensure their safe rescue.”
Ketso, who admitted that the abductors of the Islamiyya schoolchildren took the government unawares, further explained that due to the incessant attacks on schools, the state government had taken proactive measures by cancelling the boarding school system.
“In addition, the state government made sure that every primary and secondary school across the three senatorial districts have a semblance of the security team that can respond immediately to suspected threats,” he said.
Meanwhile, more communities have come under armed bandits’ attacks in the last 24 hours with more killings and destruction of properties, with the killing of four people at Campanin-bobi in Mariga and several others sustaining various degrees of injuries.
Apart from the four traders killed during the invasion, Daily Independent sources said the rampaging armed bandits, in their large numbers, attacked the community at about 6am on Tuesday, dispossessing them of their belongings, including foodstuff and other valuables.
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