UPDATED: Abducted students, workers yet to be released – Report

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Students and staff members of the Government Science College Kagara, Niger State, who were kidnapped by bandits, were yet to be released Sunday night.

 

A highly-placed security source had told The Punch that the abductees were on their way to Minna from around the Birnin Gwari area of Kaduna State.
However, it has been revealed that those who regained their freedom were some of the passengers who had been kidnapped before the Kagara school abduction.

But the Chief Press Secretary to the Niger governor, Mary Noel-Berje, who had earlier confirmed the Kagara students release to Premium Times on Sunday evening, later told the medium that she was referring to passengers who were released by their abductors.

Bandits, donning military uniform, had around 2 am on Wednesday invaded Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State, and whisked away 27 pupils and 15 staff members after killing a Senior Secondary School 3 pupil.

The incident has created nationwide agitation and worries over the safety of the kidnapped pupils and school staff members, who were whisked away into the bush by the bandits.

Also, 40 passengers travelling from Kontagora to Minna were abducted by suspected gunmen on February 14.

However, the passengers had regained freedom.

Governor Bello of the state said that his administration had taken concrete security measures to ensure the safe returned of the students and others.

Influential Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, had said on Saturday that the kidnapped Kagara schoolchildren might be released today.

In an interview on Saturday, Gumi, who has been in talks with the bandits in the forest, said that there was a possibility that the abductees might regain freedom today, given ongoing talks between the government and the bandits.

The cleric, who recently held a parley with some bandits in Zamfara State forests and consequently called for amnesty for bandits, told one of our correspondents that the negotiation for the release of the schoolchildren and members of staff was slowed down due to logistics.

According to Gumi, the negotiation does not involve payment of ransom.

 


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