Katsina abduction: Residents reveal how bandits first took schoolboys to neighbouring villages
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar-led Jama’atu Nasril Islam, on Monday, expressed shock over the abduction of students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State on Friday night.
The JNI, in a statement titled, ‘Abduction of GSSS Kankara students – a plangent mood for the poor masses,’ issued by its Secretary General, Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, urged the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to hearken to the voice of Nigerians by ‘revamping ‘ the security architecture of the country and addressing the nation.
The Islamic group said this on Monday just as more facts emerged on the abduction of the schoolboys.
Some residents, who confided in one of our correspondents, said the bandits after abducting the schoolboys at Kankara on Friday night, first took them to neighbouring villages before conveying them to unknown locations.
Recall that bandits on Friday attacked the school in Kankara and abducted no fewer than 333 students.
The attack occurred on the day the President arrived in Katsina, his home state, on a private visit and a few days after he made a U-turn on his promise to honour the House of Representatives’ invitation to address the lawmakers on the rising insecurity in the country.
On Monday, the JNI said Nigerians were tired of empty condemnations each time such tragedies (abduction) occurred without concrete steps to arrest the situation.
Specifically, the JNI said it was pained that the abduction of the students came on the heels of the killing of over 70 rice farmers at Zabarmari in the Jere Local Government Area of Borno State by the Boko Haram insurgents.
The JNI recalled that the development was a sad reminder of the abductions of the Chibok and Dapchi schoolgirls which government had yet to resolve.
It urged the government to spare no efforts to immediately return all the abducted Katsina students.
Besides, the religious body noted the abduction would further frustrate school enrolment in the North.
It stated, “If there is any worse outcome than the abduction itself, it is the fact that this is the most potent action to frustrate school enrolment in northern Nigeria, as no parent will forthwith be comfortable to send their children or wards to boarding schools despite the many enrolment campaign efforts by the government.”
Lamenting the increasing insecurity, the JNI said, “For the umpteenth time, we will continue to ask: for how long shall the masses continue to live in fear? For how long shall the federal and state governments continue to issue empty condemnations whenever tragedies strike?
“Are the government and the security agencies so overwhelmed and thus cannot secure the citizens? Are there insurmountable challenges or acts of sabotage that the government is hiding from the public? These and many more questions continue to bedevil every discerning mind within and outside Nigeria.
“The Kankara abduction was so belligerently orchestrated that it happened the day Mr. President arrived Katsina State on a private visit.
“Are the bandits this bold as to further test the resolve of the Government or smite the face of the commander-in-chief by bringing it up to his doorstep in his presence?”
“This further proves what we once said that the bandits rule in many communities and do as they wish with impunity.
“There are lapses in our security architecture that need to be urgently and seriously addressed.
“What baffles us the most is the government’s inability to locate the enemy’s actual enclave, the focal point of their strength and to devote all available means to rout them out or incapacitate them.
“Is it that the political will isn’t there? What really is the challenge or Nigerians don’t deserve to know from the government they elected? Mr. President needs to hearken to the call of Nigerians; revamp the security architecture and address the nation.”
Abductors first took abducted schoolboys to neighbouring villages – Residents
In a related development, residents of Kankara and parents of the students on Monday relived their experiences.
A resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said as early as 11am on Friday, the bandits had arrived in Pauwa and other villages not far from Kankara.
According to him, some of them, who were on motorcycles, went to Kankara in the afternoon to monitor the security situation there.
It was learnt the bandits arrived at the school at 9pm after the students had had their night prep. They took many of the students away
A retired civil servant, who confided in The PUNCH, said that the bandits first brought the abducted students to a place close to Pauwa on Friday night before taking them to unknown locations.
He said, “They brought the abducted students to somewhere around Pauwa that night before moving them out again. Maybe the attack was a reprisal as I learnt some communities around Kankara recently attacked and even killed some Fulani.”
I relocated from Kankara to Katsina after I was kidnapped twice – LG worker
A local government worker, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said his mother who lived in one of Kankara neighbouring villages, said the woman said the bandits arrived in the villages in the afternoon.
He said he used to live in Kankara, but relocated to Katsina after bandits kidnapped him twice and he paid ransoms to regain freedom.
Abdullahi said “I am a local government worker and residing in a village under Kankara. Bandits kidnapped me twice and I had to sell my belongings including my cattle to raise the ransom I paid to ensure my freedom.
“It was after I secured my freedom when they kidnapped me for the second time that I had to relocate to Katsina from where I now go to work.
“My mother, who still stays in the village, said that on Friday, the bandits arrived the nearby villages close to Kankara and some of them entered Kankara to monitor security situation.
“It was later at night that the bandits left the villages for Kankara and abducted the students and after the abduction, they came back with some of the students before carrying them away on several motorcycles. “
According to him, residents came with more than 100 motorcycles, with each conveying at least three persons.
A parent, Mallam Aminu Dayyabu, from the Bakori Local Government Area of the state, said that his 12- year son, Farouq Aminu, was among those abducted.
He said neither the boy nor the bandits had contacted him since his abduction on Friday.
I haven’t heard anything about my 12-year-old son — Father of abducted pupil
Dayyabu told The PUNCH on Monday “ We have yet to hear anything about the boy since Friday when he and his other students were abducted from the school. My son, Farouq, is 12- year old and he is in JSS 2 in the school. Punch