The Nigerian Army says it has foiled another attempt by bandits to kidnap students of Turkish International Secondary School in Rigachikun, Kaduna State.
This comes after bandits abducted over 200 persons, including students and staff, of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka in Igabi Local Government Area of the state on Thursday night.
While the state government claimed 180 persons have been rescued on Friday, further checks indicated that 39 students are currently unaccounted for.
“The missing students include males and females,” the Commissioner for Internal Affairs and Home Security, Samuel Aruwan, said, in another update on Friday night.
“In an earlier update, citizens were informed that troops rescued 180 persons following an attack by armed bandits on the College late Thursday night, with about 30 still missing. The number of missing students is now confirmed to be 39, comprising 23 females and 16 males.
“The Kaduna State Government is maintaining close communication with the management of the College as efforts are sustained by security agencies towards the tracking of the missing students,” Mr Aruwan stated.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Mohammed Yerima, in a statement on Friday, said troops were mobilised to protect the Turkish school from the bandits following a tip off on the planned abduction.
According to him, troops also responded to another distress call that bandits had stormed the Federal School of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, with aim of kidnapping the staff and students.
“The troops swiftly moved to Afaka and decisively engaged the armed bandits. Following the fire fight, troops were able to rescue 180 persons, comprising of 132 male students, 40 female students and 8 civilian staff,” he said.
Mr Yerima, a brigadier-general, said the bandits were said to have broken into the institution by breaching the perimeter fence of the school.
He added that the rescued students had been evacuated to a safe place while the injured were receiving medical attention at a military facility.
“Meanwhile, combined team of Army, Air Force, Police and DSS are currently combing the forest in pursuit of the bandits,” he said.
Reacting to the developments in Kaduna, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, said he is saddened by the mass abduction of students.
The kidnap in Afaka was the fourth mass abduction of school children in the North West and North Central of Nigria in four months.
Hundreds of students were earlier kidnapped from secondary schools in Kankara in Kastina State; Kagara in Niger State and Jangebe in Zamfara State.
Mr Guterres, in a social media post, called for the students to be reunited with their families and their abductors brought to justice.
“I’m deeply saddened to learn of yet another mass abduction of students from a school in Nigeria.
“Schools must remain safe spaces to learn without fear of violence. The students must be returned to their families, and those responsible for this crime must be brought to justice,” he wrote on Twitter.
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