Police Dispel Death Rumours of Abducted Igbonla Boys

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• Say operation on course to rescue them

Chiemelie Ezeobi

The six male students of Igbonla Government College, Epe in Lagos State, who were kidnapped 56 days ago are alive and fine, the police said Tuesday, dispelling rumours that they might have been killed by their abductors.

“We are on course to rescue the boys. The children are fine and we will continue to intensify efforts to ensure that they are returned home and reunited with their parents,” said Fatai Owoseni, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command.

Speculation has been rife that the kidnappers might have killed the boys, following a breakdown in the negotiation between the abductors and their parents over the ransom.

But Owoseni provided a glimmer of home to the abducted children’s families and friends Tuesday, assuring them that efforts were being intensified to rescue them.
He refused to give details of the rescue efforts, explaining that it was a sensitive matter that could not be divulged to the public.

“This is a sensitive matter and our main objective is to successfully reunite them with their parents and that will soon be achieved,” the police boss said.
Peter Jonah, Isiaq Rahmon, Adebayo George, Judah Agbausi, Pelumi Philips and Farouq Yusuf were abducted on May 25, 2017.

The kidnappers who had initially demanded N50 million ransom, then cut off communication after three of their gang members were arrested by the police last month, despite collecting N10 million from the parents of the students.

They resumed communication last week and after collecting another N20 million from the parents, they failed to release the boys at the weekend as promised.

Instead the kidnappers made a demand for another N1.5 million to defray their transportation cost.
This latest demand caused a stalemate in the negotiations, leading to fears that the kidnappers might have dispensed with the students.