Parents and family members of 136 pupils of Salihu Tanko Islamiyya, Tegina, Niger State can now heave a sigh of relief following their release last night after spending about 89 days in captivity.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the parents and school authorities were able to raise N18 million ransom and delivered six motorcycles to the bandits with proceeds from donations from Nigerians sympathetic to the plights of the pupils.
It was learnt that the pupils were released and handed over to the school authorities at Birni Gwari in Kaduna State.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the delegation of the parents and the school authority accompanied by security agents left for Birni Gwari in the afternoon to await the arrival of the children.
A source hinted that the bandits later released them at the place they indicated the head teacher of the school who they had used as a link man to the parents.
The source added that amid apprehension, the bandits this time kept their side of the bargain after failing twice to release the pupils when they earlier collected N50 million ransom.
The head teacher of the Islamiyya, Alhassan Garba Abubakar, confirmed the children’s release.
He told LEADERSHIP, “I can confirm to you that they have been released. I am with them now. We just received them, and we are happy that they have been released after 89 days in the captivity of the bandits.”
According to him, they were on their way to Minna via Tegina where the pupils will be admitted into a medical facility for thorough medical attention.
On the pupils missing or dead, he said, “We are elated now; we will count them later and get back to you media men very soon with a comprehensive report.”
LEADERSHIP recalls that the pupils were abducted on 30th May, 2021. Six of the pupils hadly reported died while two of the parents died of heartache.
Search Continues For Abducted Army Major
Two days after the attack on the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), the search for the kidnapped major has continued with no success as of press time.
The NDA, Afaka in Kaduna was attacked by bandits on Tuesday during which two officers were killed,one injured and one other kidnapped.
The NDA’s public relations officer, Major Bashir Muhd Jajira, had released a statement saying the Academy was working with the 1 Division, Nigerian Army and Air Training Command as well as other security agencies in Kaduna state to arrest the gunmen and rescue the abducted personnel.
But more than 48 hours after, the fate of the kidnapped major, Stephen Datong, remains unknown.
A source told LEADERSHIP that before the attack on the Afaka residential quarters, the NDA had paid ransom to rescue a cadet who was kidnapped by bandits in Kaduna.
According to military sources, this happened before the kidnap of the 29 students of Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation Kaduna on March 11, 2021.
The director of defence Information, Major General Benjamin Sawyerr, when contacted, said he was not aware of the NDA paying ransom to rescue any kidnapped cadet.
He also said the panel set up by the Defence Headquarters to investigate the incident at NDA had no deadline yet to submit its report.
Troops Kill 43 Terrorists, Capture Commander
In a firefight on Wednesday, troops of Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) Sector 4 inDiffa, Niger Republic, killed 43 terrorists and captured one Boko Haram/ISWAP commander.
Seven soldiers, however, paid the supreme price in the fierce encounter while four others who sustained varying degrees of injuries are receiving treatment at an undisclosed military hospital.
A statement issued to journalists yesterday in Maiduguri, Borno State, by Colonel Muhammad Dole, chief of military public information, MNJTF Headquarters,
N`Djamena, Chad, said the troops displayed uncommon gallantry and bravery when their location was attacked.
Colonel Dole said the troops of the sector deployed in Baroua came under heavy attack from suspected Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists in the early hours of Wednesday, August 25, 2021, adding that the troops tactically canalised the criminals to their effective killing zone, brought heavy fire on them and neutralised scores of the terrorists, while others escaped with various degree of injuries.
Banditry: PMB Deploys Special Forces To Zamfara
Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his immediate approval of sending Rapid Response Troops to fight the resurgence of armed banditry in the state.
The governor made the commendation yesterday while granting audience to the General Officer Commanding 8 Division, Nigerian Army, Sokoto, and Commander Joint Task Force, North West, ‘Operation Hadarin Daji’, Major General Uwem Bassey.
Matawalle expressed appreciation at the deployment of 100 special forces to the state to fight the bandits in the Zamfara forest.
According to him, the prompt response was indicative that the president was concerned with what happenings in the state, especially the recent resurgence of kidnappings and killings of innocent people in some parts of the state.
As Bandits Displace 600,000 Residents In Zamfara
Zamfara State commissioner for humanitarian and disaster management, Hajia F’aika Ahmad has lamented the influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs) as the population now stands at 600,000.
Speaking while receiving a federal government donation of 1,200 bags of rice for distribution to IDPs, the commissioner said over 184,000 households were displaced as a result of banditry
The commissioner, however, appealed for the support of the federal government to cater more for the vulnerable persons in the state.
Presenting the donation, minister of humanitarian services and disaster management, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouk, said the donation was aimed at supplementing the state government’s efforts towards the problem of the vulnerable persons.
Military Repels Attack On Yobe Community, Recover Gun Truck
The Nigerian Army has said troops of Sector 2 Joint Task Force, North East Operation Hadin Kai, have foiled an attempted attack on Babangida town in Yobe State by Boko Haram/Islamic State of West Africa Province terrorists.
The director, army public relations, Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, said the terrorists on Wednesday attacked the town, looking for logistics replenishment.
He said the terrorists made the futile effort to infiltrate the town, but were met with a fierce counterattack from the vigilant troops, forcing them to retreat in disarray.
During the encounter, the troops captured one gun truck, one Dushka Anti Aircraft Gun, two AK 47 rifles and unprimed Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) from the fleeing terrorists.
According to him, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya, praised the troops for their vigilance and swiftness in countering the attack, while urging them to remain focused and avoid any form of distraction from the terrorists, who are desperate to make face saving moves, having suffered enormous depletion in their ranks.
Governor Sani Bello Denies Existence Of Bandits’ Camps In Niger
Amid growing fears over the activities of bandits in Niger State, the state governor Abubakar Sani Bello, has disclosed that there are no bandits’ camps in the state.
The governor disclosed this while visiting some banditry-prone communities in the state to show support to security operatives currently repelling various attacks by bandits in the state
He said the bandits usually come in from neighbouring states, particularly Zamfara State, to carry out their nefarious activities and return.
The governor stressed the need for synergy among the states affected by the activities of the bandits, pointing out that individual state efforts would not yield the desired results.
Governor Sani Bello maintained that the state government will continue to make every effort to secure affected communities with agricultural potential in order to prevent food shortage in the area.
The governor commended the security operatives for their gallantry in pushing the bandits out of the community and promised continued support to the security personnel especially in the areas of logistics and welfare for optimum results.
COAS Reaches Out To Monarchs To Win Anti-terror War
Meanwhile, the chief of army staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, has solicited the support of royal fathers of the traditional institution across the country to the fight against banditry and insurgency.
Lt Gen Yahaya made the call when he visited the palace of His Imperial Majesty, Oba Aladetoyinbo, Ogunlade Aladelusi Odundu II, the Deji, and paramount ruler of Akure Kingdom.
In a statement by the director of public relations and information, Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, the COAS who was on a working tour of 2 Division area of responsibility, said he found it necessary to pay homage to the traditional institution.
He said the continuous support of the royal fathers is critical to troops’ operational success in their various kingdoms.
Yahaya commended the peaceful coexistence and cordial relationship existing between the Nigerian Army and the people of Akure and encouraged its sustenance.
Catholic Bishops, Northern Christian Elders Suggest Way Forward
Catholic Bishops under the auspices of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) have called on the federal government to show more strategic commitment and sincerity in the fight against insecurity in the country.
The bishops, in a communique issued at the end of the Second Plenary Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), held at the Holy Ghost Cathedral in Enugu State, urged the government to take full responsibility for the present culture of violence and impunity in the country.
In the communique which was jointly signed by Most Rev. Augustine Akubeze, CBCN president, and Most Rev. Camillus Umoh, secretary of CBCN, the bishops also commended the efforts being made by the government to fight insecurity in the land, but that it needs to do more to ensure the safety of all Nigerians.
The bishops strongly advocated total respect for the sanctity of human life, that regrettably, except for the civil war, Nigeria has never witnessed the kind of widespread evil, wanton destruction, and murderous bloodletting.
Following worsening levels of insecurity in NIgeria, the Northern States Christian Elders Forum (NOSCEF) has advised the President Muhammdu Buhari-led federal government to swallow its pride and seek foreign assistance.
This was expressed in a statement signed by NOSCEF chairman, Engineer Ejoga Oyinehi Inalegwu, and made available to newsmen in Kaduna yesterday.
“When that fails, people are left in disbelief and justifiably question the sincerity or fair mindedness on the part of government in ensuring justice is served from those that have the responsibility to decisively deal with the situations without bias,” it said.
The group stressed that the government must not be seen to have become unconcerned about a section of those they govern.