From Kankara to Kagara, now Jangebe

 

It is evident that mass abduction of schoolchildren by gangs of armed bandits is gradually trending upwards across northern states in the recent times.

The recent kidnapping of schoolchildren that shook the world were that of Government Secondary School Kankara in Katsina state, Government Secondary School Kagara, Niger state and Government Girls Secondary School Jangebe, Zamfara states.

At GSS Kankara in Katsina state, a total of 344 were abducted on December 11, 2020, few days after President Muhammadu Buhari arrived his home town Daura for vacation.

Daily Telescope recalled that the abducted students were taken to a forest in Zamfara where they spent six days in captivity before they were finally released.

It was not certain whether a ransom is paid to the bandits or not before the release of the students. While the federal and Katsina state governments as well as the leader of the gang that abducted the students insisted that no ransom is paid, Mahadi Shehu, a human right activist alleged that N800m was paid to the bandits as ransom.

In a recent interview with leader of the gang, Auwal Daudawa, who repented and surrendered his arms to government, said not a single dime was paid to this gang as ransom for the release of the 334 students of GSS Kankara.

The students were released through a combined effort of the federal government, Katsina state government and the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACABAN)’s mediation.

After the GSS Kankara, the next was the Gvovernment Science College Kagara in Niger state where 42 persons comprising 27 schoolboys, three teachers and 12 members of their families were abducted by the bandits on February 17.

The armed bandits, who stormed the 52-year old college on motorbikes, raided two of the five hostels in the college; Barde and Lafene hostels. However, they killed a student, Benjamin Habilah in the process of kidnapping the schoolboys.

The kidnapped students, Daily Telescope observed have finally been released.

However, while parents of the just released students are jubilating, a gang of bandits stormed Government Girls Secondary School Jangebe in Talata Mafara local government area of Zamfara state and abducted 317 female students.

The bandits reportedly including women arrived the school aboard vehicles, loaded the students onto the vehicles and zoomed into the forest.

Confirming the incident, the state Commissioner of information, Alhaji Sulaiman Tunau Anka said government could not ascertain the exact number of the students abducted, however, he said efforts are being made to rescue the students.

“We are yet to verify the exact number of the students kidnapped. Some of the girls were made to trek and the security operatives have launched manhunt for the criminals. We are on top of the situation,” Anka said

However, a teacher in the school, who pleaded for anonymity, confided in Daily Telescope that over 500 female students were abducted during the unfortunate raid by the bandits.

He said: “We have almost 600 female students in this school. As I am speaking with you, the students that remained behind are not more than 50. This is to tell you that almost 550 students were abducted by the bandits.

“The students that escaped have been handed over to their respective parents. They came to the school as early as 5am to collect their children. Innalillahi Wa Inna Ilaihir Raji’uun, for those whose daughters were kidnapped, it was a terrible moment to see. Some of them slumped and painted when they were told that their daughters were among those kidnapped.”

The teacher told Daily Telescope that information reaching them indicated that the gunmen, who laid siege around the school, attacked the soldiers stationed in the community before they gained access into the school and kidnap the students.

“It was said that the bandits did not come to the school with vehicles. They initially stationed the vehicles at a nearby village and trekked to the school. It was after they attacked the security men that the drivers of the vehicles drove to the school and evacuate the students.

“We are hoping to get to the bandits as a combine team of security operatives, local vigilante and volunteered residents have launched search for the abductors. We learnt that some the students were forced to trek into the bush by the bandits,” he concluded.

The ugly trend of mass abduction of students is driving the region into a serious dilemma as it affects the education of the future generation. With spate of kidnapping of students, many public boarding schools were shut down in affected states.

It would be recalled that after the students of GSS Kankara were kidnapped, all public boarding schools were shut down in Katsina and the neighboring Kano state and they remained closed for some weeks before they were reopened.

Also, the Niger state government ordered for the closure of all boarding public schools in the state following Kagara kidnap incident.

Hours after the abduction of the students, Zamfara state government has ordered for the immediate closure of all boarding schools in the state.

Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle, who gave the directives during a broadcast on Friday, said the decision was imperative following the abduction of female students of Government Girls Secondary Jangebe by armed bandits.

The governor, who was visibly disturbed, assured the affected families that government would do everything possible to rescue the abducted students unhurt.

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