Bandits attack another Zamfara school, abduct 73 students

By AdvocateNews on 02/09/2021

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Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle
Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle

• Get weapons to defend yourselves, governor tells residents

Bandits have abducted 73 students of Government Day Secondary School, Kaya, in the Maradun Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

The new attack on Wednesday comes just days after three other groups of hostages were freed after large ransom payments were reportedly made.

Attackers descended upon the school located in the remote village of Kaya, according to Zamfara state police spokesman Mohammed Shehu.

A rescue operation was ongoing to free the students, he added.

More than 1,000 students have been kidnapped from schools in northern Nigeria since December.

The gunmen have demanded large ransom payments from parents, and while most pupils ultimately have been released, some have died or been killed in captivity.

Government officials haven’t commented on whether they played any role in the hostages releases.

However, the head teacher at one of the schools in Niger state told The Associated Press many parents sold most of what they owned in an effort to raise funds. The Salihu Tanko Islamiya School also sold off a piece of land where they had planned an expansion project, he added.

Those 90 pupils freed were the youngest hostages ever taken from a school in Nigeria, with children as young as 4 taken into the remote forests by gunmen and held for three months without their parents. One child, who hasn’t been identified, died during the ordeal, authorities said last week.

The increasing rate of abductions in the north has forced some state governments to temporarily close down some schools as they struggle to find a means of ensuring sufficient security in areas where there is usually not an adequate police presence.

Meanwhile, at a prayer session in Gusau, the state capital,  Governor Bello Matawalle called on the people of the state to wake up and defend themselves against attacks by bandits.

The special prayer was organised by his administration to seek God’s intervention against banditry.

Matawalle said, “I am calling on the people of the state, particularly those in the rural areas, to use all the available weapons at their disposal and protect themselves whenever the bandits attack their villages.

“As from today, you should come out en masse and face the bandits if they come to your villages.

“Do not sleep in the night and if you get any information that the bandits are coming to your communities to attack you, try to ambush them with all the weapons in your possession.

“We have to remove the fear from our minds and face these hoodlums so that they will understand that we can fight them.”

Matawalle expressed optimism that if the measure was adopted, the issue of banditry would soon become history.

Prominent Islamic scholars in the state had converged on a mosque, where special prayers were offered. The programme was also broadcast live by the state-owned Zamfara Radio.

Posted 02/09/2021 06:44:30 AM


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