Report has it that 4 bandits were swapped with freed Kagara victims; Niger State Government denies

Gunmen with RPG, AK47, abducts Niger students

Report has it that four members of the bandits gang that abducted staff and students of the Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State, were swapped with freed Kagara victims.

Naija Buzz News had reported that bandits attacked the school in Niger State, abducting 27 schoolboys, some teachers and their family members.

The victims were released to a team of police and other security agents around 7am on Saturday morning after negotiations.

According to Daily Trust, the bandits who operates between Birnin Gwari LGA of Kaduna State and Rafi LGA of Niger State, had demanded the release of some of their members arrested by security agents.

Four of the six persons were reportedly identified in different detention facilities in Katsina, Kaduna and Niger States.

However, according to Alhaji Muhammad Sani Idris, the Commissioner of Information, no prisoner was swaped for the release of the victims. He added that no ransom was paid for the victims release.

An undisclosed source who spoke to Daily Trust however noted that two prisoners were released to the bandits before the victims were freed.

“The process to perfect release of the other two was being concluded,” the source disclosed Saturday afternoon.

“One of the bandits used in reaching out to the group had to ride on motorcycle for nine hours to go and meet the Kachalla (leader) of the kidnappers. The Kachalla was persuaded to allow the victims to be set free even though not all the persons they wanted out from detention were released.

“Between the leader was and the location they hid the victims it was another long journey. It was therefore difficult even more for the abductees who had to trek for many hours to freedom,” the source said.

Abubakar Sidi, 21, an SS3 student who was among the victims released, said; “After feeding us, they told those whose fathers are policemen and soldiers to step aside. The amount of beating you received depended on the occupation of your father. They beat us mercilessly; I wish I died there because the beating was too much. The experience was horrific,’’ he said.

Another student, Mahmood Mohammed, said; “I faced hell. It was not easy. I did not know that I would come back. They didn’t take care of us. I am very happy because God has given me the opportunity to be reunited with my family.

“We are happy to see all the government officials who came out in their numbers to welcome us. This has shown to us the level of concern they have towards us while we were in the wilderness.

“My decision to go back to the school is in the hands of my parents, as well as the level of concern the government might show towards the security of the school, ” he said.

Speaking after the students met with him, Governor Sani Bello, said one of the students was suffering from excessive exhaustion and was still receiving treatment in a hospital.

“They have been through tremendous torture. We will study and review every step involved, with a view to finding a lasting solution to the challenge.

“No ransom was paid to get them back. However, it involved a lot of logistics because we involved many groups. It was a very difficult and demanding task, but at the end, we are happy it yielded results,’’ he said.

The governor had few days ago cried out that the Federal Government had abandoned the state to shoulder all the responsibilities of freeing the kidnapped students.

Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, the Secretary to the Government of Niger State, who was among those who went to the forest to dialogue with the bandits, said; “It took a lot of courage to go there. And when we got there, it was a matter of life and death because anything could have happened. But God who knew why we were there protected us.” He noted that the same method used to secure the release of the NSTA victims also helped to get the students released.

“Many will live to remember this for the rest of their lives. The experience is traumatising. They trekked for eight hours, with limited food. So you can imagine what happened to them,’’ he said.

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