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General News of Friday, 19 February 2021

Source: The Nation

How we escaped Kagara kidnap, by pupils, others

Some pupils and members of staff of Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State, who escaped the kidnap, have recalled how they made it.

On Thursday, the government released names of pupils and members of staff who were abducted.

The police intensified their search in the forest as security sources hinted that the place those abducted were kept might have been located.

A pupil, simply identified as Ndako, recounting his harrowing experience, said: “I ran into the bush. It was dark and they were shooting but I kept running seriously. Luckily, I got to a house and hid behind it. Three other students  met me and we stayed there till morning when we came out.”

A staff member, Aliyu Isah, who said his family members were abducted, added that  he could not believe he came out of the ordeal alive.

“I ran toward the field and they were shooting at me. I did not run straight. I was swerving to escape their bullets. I ran until I got to a  house where I  hid until after 2 am when the kidnappers left,” Isah said.

Ndako and Isah spoke with Channels through the telephone on Thursday. They said the bandits wore military outfits when they broke into the hostels and some of the staff quarters in the college.

Security sources said: “I can confirm to you that after the aerial surveillance, two kidnapping groups have been spotted. They have been keyed at a corner in danger zone right now. They are not even talking about negotiations  as they are concerned about their safety.”

One of the parents of another kidnapped staff member, Khamis Tahir, said the whereabouts of his daughter and six members of her family had yet to be established.

He said his son-in-law escaped when the bandits were leading them to one of the hostels.

Tahir said: “We haven’t been able to contact my daughter. Her husband escaped narrowly but for her and others, no one has heard anything. Her husband was the first person to be kidnapped in the house.

IGP deploys helicopter, special forcesThe  Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the deployment of aerial surveillance helicopter and special forces in Niger State.

Adamu, according to a statement by Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said: “We are irrevocably committed to the safe rescue of all abductees in the recent attack on Government Science College, Kagara   and other related incidents,“

Operation Puff Adder II combs five LGAsThe first batch of Operation Adder II has been deployed in flash council areas of Niger State  to rescue the abductee and dislodge bandits from their abode across the state.

Commissioner of Police Adamu Usman who deployed the special troops in Minna on Thursday, said “We will deploy them in all the areas to all the red flag points. We had problems with inadequate personnel in the past but that is no longer a problem with the coming of these troops. They will be deployed in Munya, Munya, Shiroro, Mariga and the Lapai-Agaie axis,”

Niger lawmakers: No negotiation with bandits The state House Assembly has aligned itself with Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello’s position of not negotiating with the bandits for the release of the abductees.

The Assembly, therefore, called on the Federal Government to do more in terms of addressing the insecurity of state.

The position was  made known during the debate on a motion on a matter of urgent public importance raised by the member representing Bosso Constituency, Madaki Bosso, on Thursday.

Bosso had said: “There is no room for negotiation with bandits. Any attempt by the government or anyone to negotiate with the bandits will call for more attacks and problems. These people are stubborn and wicked that the moment you negotiate with them, they turn the state into a business venture and we will not allow it.”

Speaker Bawa Wuse said the leadership of the Assembly would meet with the governor on the state’s security situation.

UN, UNICEF Nigeria, Obi condemn attack United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins and the Vice-Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the  2019 elections, Peter Obi, also  condemned the Kagara college attack.

In a statement on Thursday, Guterres described attacks on schools and other educational facilities as “abhorrent and unacceptable”.

He urged the Federal Government to “spare no efforts in rescuing those abducted and holding to account those responsible for this act”.

The UN chief expressed his “deepest condolences” to the bereaved and his sympathies to affected families.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also called for the “immediate and unconditional release” of all the  children   and their safe return to their families.

Hawkins said that attacks on schools were a violation of children’s rights.

“Children should feel safe at home and at school at all times.

“Parents should not need to worry for the safety of their children when they send them off to school in the morning,” Hawkins said in statement.

He acknowledged efforts being taken by security agencies to rescue the missing children and safely return them to their families.

Obi described the abductions as an attack on Nigeria’s fundamental development.

He pointed out that any attack on students was an attack on education, a critical contributor to national development.

Obi, in a statement by his media office, regretted that the government has yet to rescue the kidnapped students.

“The incessant cases of security challenges in the country have continued to discourage, not just the inflow of foreign direct investment, but discourage local investors from moving the economy forward,” he lamented.

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