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Search continues for over 600 missing students abducted by bandits riding in 150 motorcycles in Katsina State

  • Abduction occurred hours after President Buhari arrived Katsina State on week long “private” visit

Hours after President Muhammadu Buhari arrived his home State of Katsina for a weeklong “private” visit, bandits on Friday night invaded Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, abducting students.

Spokesperson for the Katsina State Police Command, Superintendent of Police Gambo Isah, confirmed the invasion of the school and the abduction of the students but could not state the exact number of students taken away.

Isah said that when the school was attacked there were two policemen who engaged the gunmen at the gate and that exchange of fire gave the students the signal to run for safety.

He said: “One of our men was shot but he is responding to treatment. The DPO in Kankara together with reinforcement from other divisions are working to search for other students who are yet to return.

“As at now we cannot ascertain whether some of the students were kidnapped or not but as said our men are on top of the situation.”

Unconfirmed reports said about 600 out of 800 students of the schools are still missing as of Saturday morning.

A resident of Kankara spoke of the early arrival of the bandits, saying “they arrived Kankara some minutes pass 10pm on about 150 motorcycles and some of them went straight to the school while others blocked the road leading to the school from Kankara town apparently to prevent anyone going to render help.

“Those who blocked the road were earlier engaged by members of vigilante and within a short time, the police arrived with a reinforcement.”

He added that some students who passed the night in the bushes where they ran for safety had returned Saturday morning, while others also who were amongst the abductees were said to be found along the bandits’ route.

Sources said that the bandits launched the attack shortly after prep ended at 9:30pm and the students were in their hostels and started shooting sporadically into the air, causing commotion and stampede.

They then scaled the security walls and broke the gate.

The source said that the school has over 800 students, with the exception of Junior Secondary School 3 (JSS3) and Senior Secondary School (SSS3) students who are yet to resume.

Stating that about 600 students are yet to return to the school, several hours after the attack, the source stated: “We are still hoping that some of them might return. We believe some of them fled the attack and ran into the bush.”

It noted that the bandits, after raiding the hostels, gathered the students in one place, and then shepherded them towards Pauwa village, where dozens of motorcycles were kept for their escape.

Troops of the Nigerian Army, it was gathered, later arrived at the school to confront the bandits and the bandits absconded with some of the students after a gun duel between the troops and the bandits.

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