Bandits who kidnapped scores of students at the Federal Government College in Birnin Kebbi, the Kebbi State capital, have reportedly contacted the parents of the kidnapped children.
TrackNews Online had shared earlier two video clips that show moment troops of the Nigerian army were exchanging gun bullets with the bandits inside a bush.
The bandits who rode on motorcycles stormed FGC from neighbouring Rijau forest in the early hours of Thursday and whisked away many students after killing an officer of the Nigeria mobile police.
Hours after the rescue of nine victims of the incident, reports reaching TrackNews Online confirmed that the kidnappers have reached out to the affected families informing them their relatives were being held hostage at an undisclosed location.
It was, however, learnt that the bandits have yet to state any condition for the release of the victims as of press time on Friday. Meanwhile, the state chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers had confirmed that five of its members were taken away by the abductors.
It was also gathered that the state government has ordered the closure of schools vulnerable to attacks in the state.
Speaking on the recent event, the State Chairman of the NUT, Mr Isa Umar, who spoke with newsmen said, “Yes, we know five of our members were taken away and the bandits made contact yesterday (Thursday) with the families of the teachers, but up till now, there was nothing that was paid as ransom.
He added: “They (bandits) only informed their family members that they (abducted teachers) are with them. They have not even started negotiating because from the look of things, the government and security personnel are doing their best. In the report we had yesterday, a number of the bandits were killed.
“And from the report, we received this afternoon (Friday) that security forces have surrounded them and information has it that very soon, we will hear from the government. But unconfirmed sources are saying that those children were rescued, but I’m not sure; it’s just speculation because we have to hear from the government before we can confirm anything.”
When asked whether the union could confirm the number of pupils kidnapped at the school, Umar said, “We cannot confirm the number of pupils because they came in the daytime – just 10 am, when they invaded the school – and you can imagine the number (of pupils) that escaped through the fence. And all those that escaped proceeded to where they could board the next available vehicle to their respective towns and villages. So, nobody can say the exact number that was taken away.”
He also said the abduction of the teachers had become a cause for worry for the union in the state.
“You know the school is owned by the Federal Government. It is a federal unity school; the students are from across the federation and it is a federal government decision as to what they will do and the proactive measures they have taken.
“And to the best of our knowledge, the Federal Government did its best because there were about 22 armed mobile policemen that were attached to the school and, unfortunately, the bandits outnumbered them seriously because the information we had was that they came in hundreds, so you can imagine what 22 armed police would do to about 600 armed bandits. And their weapons are far more sophisticated and better than the one mobile (police) personnel carry,” Umar added.
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