One of the students abducted by bandits who attacked the Federal Government College, Birnin Yauri, Kebbi State, last Thursday night has died during a crossfire between the kidnappers and security agents.
The kidnappers, who stormed the school in large number, were armed with sophisticated weapons, abducted 30 students, and killed a policeman. A teacher, a vice-principal, the school’s security officer, and the wife of a teacher, were also abducted.
Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State visited the affected school yesterday, where he met with the parents, and promised that all abducted students would be freed.
The shootout that claimed the life of the student happened yesterday morning when the fleeing kidnappers ran into men of the Joint Taskforce of Operation Hadarin Daji in the North-West Zone, at a roadblock, while heading out of Kebbi State.
According to the Deputy Force Commander, Operation Hadari Daji, Air Commodore Abubakar Abdulkadir, as a result of the duel, the bandits were forced to abandon five students and a teacher.
Sadly, one of the students, who was unidentified, died in the crossfire. No further detail was given on how the death occurred.
Abdulkadir said: “In the early hours of this morning, we came across the kidnappers. They came to our blocking point, and we engaged them. At that point, they abandoned five of the students and one of the teachers. Unfortunately, I think we lost one of the students.”
The Nigerian Army in a statement yesterday confirmed the death of the student but attributed the death to “exhaustion during a rescue operation as troops of Operation Hadarin Daji engaged kidnappers in a fire-fight, culminating in the rescue of five students and two teachers of Federal Government College, Yauri.”
A statement issued by the Army Spokesman, Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu, said troops had launched a manhunt for the kidnappers and bandits, following the abduction of the students.
“The rescue followed an initial encounter with the abductors in the early hours of today (yesterday) 18 June 2021 after trailing the kidnappers from Yauri through Riyao to Sombo community, where the kidnappers who had split into two groups fled, with one group conveying the abducted children, while the second group conveyed rustled cattle,” it said.
The update on the abduction said the land troops in conjunction with elements of the Nigerian Air Force, who provided close air support during the rescue mission, intercepted the two groups at about 2.30 am.
It said the troops also recovered 800 cattle rustled by the bandits and maintained that the gallant troops were still on the heels of the kidnappers to rescue the remaining abductees still in captivity.
“The rescued teachers and students will be handed over to the Kebbi State Government. The Nigerian Army appreciates the cooperation so far from good-spirited citizens and wishes to solicit more. “The Chief of Army Staff Maj Gen Faruk Yahaya has directed the commander to spare no effort until all the abducted persons are safely rescued and reunited with their loved ones,” it said.
The rescued students and teachers are currently receiving medical treatment at the Yauri General Hospital.
Bagudu Promises Freedom for Abducted Students
Meanwhile, Governor Bagudu yesterday met with parents of abducted Yauri students at the school premises, assuring them that they would be rescued soon.
He assured the parents that the state government, relevant security agencies, and the presidency were working together to rescue the student from the bandits.
He said: “We will do anything to bring the children back. We have already engaged the necessary security agencies and they are working to rescue them. All we need to do we have done. What we need from you are your prayers and support.”
Bagudu said the state government was alerted two weeks ago that the bandits were sighted around the school area, adding: “We planned to move them but the school authorities said the students have two weeks left to write their final exams. For this, the commissioner of police was gracious enough to dispatch 22 men and officers from the counter-terrorism unit to the school but they were overpowered because the bandits came in hundreds.”