Bandits Hold on to Abducted Kaduna Schoolgirls after N3.6m Ransom Payment

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John Shiklam in Kaduna

Abductors of the six female students and two staff of  Engravers College, Kakau Daji, in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State are yet to release their victims after allegedly collecting a ransom of N3.6 million.

Also, abductors of four students of the Government Day Secondary School (GDSS) Gwagwada, Chikun Local Government Area of the state, have demanded for a ransom of N2 million.

Sources close to families of the abducted girls said the money was paid a couple of days ago, but the girls and the staff were yet to be released. The development is said to have further heightened fears and apprehension among parents as they waited anxiously for the release of their children who have remained in captivity since their abduction on October 3, when the hoodlums  invaded the school.

Sources close to the parents said since the ransom was delivered, there had been no communication from the bandits.

According to the source, ”Parents of the girls contributed N3.6 million and was delivered to the kidnappers, but they have not released the girls.

“As it is, the parents are helpless and apprehensive. There has been no communication with the bandits after the money was delivered, so everybody is very worried.

“We have been praying day and night to God to touch the hearts of the kidnappers and free the children and the staff.

“The parents have been in trauma since the incident happened and they were hoping that with the payment of the ransom, they will release the girls,” he said.  

On Thursday, 14 students of the school were abducted on their way to school, however, troops of the “Operation Thunder Strike” were said to have rescued all the students.

However a community leader in Gwagwada said not all the students were rescued as four of them were still in captivity.

According to him, 10 of the students were rescued following the prompt arrival of soldiers.

He said the bandits, who were many in number, divided themselves in groups after abducting the 14 school children.

”They divided themselves in two groups and the group with four students had escaped before the army arrived.

The army did not know that one of the groups had escaped with four students.

But they pursued the group with 10 of the students and rescued the students,” he said.

According to him, the bandits had called to demand for a N2 million ransom, adding that negotiations were still going on.

“We told them that we are poor village people and we don’t have N2 million. We pleaded with them to understand with us,” he said.

He said further that villages along the Kaduna-Abuja Road were being terrorised frequently by bandits.

“We are living under the mercy of kidnappers, but we have been praying to God to protect us and deliver us from these criminals,” he added.

The 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna had earlier in a statement yesterday confirmed that  troops of Operation Thunder Strike rescued the students. 

Colonel Ezindu Idimah, Deputy Director,  Army Public Relations, said in the statement that the troops who were on routine patrol in the general area received information from a reliable source that some bandits terrorising the Abuja-Kaduna highway waylaid some students on their way to school and abducted them.

He said the troops immediately swung into action chased the bandits who, on sighting the troops, engaged them in a gun duel.

“Following the firefight, one of the bandits was neutralised while the rest scampered into different directions of the forest with gunshot wounds,” he said

Suleiman Abubakar, acting spokesman of the Kaduna State police command did not respond to telephone calls when contacted.