Hundreds of students abducted from a school in Kankara Local Government Area (LGA) of Katsina State have been released, authorities in the state have said.
The Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, confirmed the release of the students on Thursday, a week after they were kidnapped by gunmen.
According to him, the boys are presently kept safe in Tsafe, a local government area in Zamfara State.
Governor Masari noted that the boys would be brought back to Kankara in Katsina State on Friday.
Mr Suleiman Tsiga, who is the Information Officer of Ƙanƙara LGA, also confirmed the release of the students to our correspondent.
He disclosed that the state governor, Aminu Masari, had directed that the children be moved to Ƙankara LGA secretariat before he changed his decision for security reasons.
The Armed Forces Know Their Job
Although the government did not give a specific figure of students released by their captors, over 300 of them were unaccounted for before the news of their freedom broke.
Shortly after their release was reported, President Muhammadu Buhari described the safe return of the schoolboys as a big relief to their families, the entire country and to the international community.
He commended what he called the spirit of partnership and the collaborative efforts of the governments of Katsina, Zamfara and military which led to the release of the students.
“The Governor (Masari) and the army worked extremely hard. As soon as I got the information, I congratulated them.
“The Armed Forces know their job. They have been well trained and properly motivated,” President Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement by his media aide, Garba Shehu.
Katsina State is located in the north-west region of the country, but the Boko Haram terrorist group which has been operating in the North East for more than a decade claimed responsibility for the abduction.
On Friday last week, gunmen suspected to be bandits invaded the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara.
While some of the students abducted escaped during the incident, some others returned recently as the grieving parents keep watch at the school in anticipation of their children’s release.
Few Hours Turn Four Days
The abduction of the students sparked an outrage with calls from various individuals and groups on the government to step up efforts towards securing the lives of the people.
It occurred at a time when President Muhammadu Buhari had travelled to Daura, his hometown in Katsina for a private visit.
The President had condemned the incident in a statement shortly after it happened and sent a delegation of the Federal Government comprising the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, and the service chiefs to Katsina to work with the state government in securing the release of the schoolboys.
In spite of his action, President Buhari was under fire for not visiting Kankara to sympathise with the parents of the students.
Receiving the delegation at the Government House on Sunday, Governor Masari confirmed that at least 333 students were still unaccounted for.
Magashi, on his part, had assured the governor that the security agencies had swung into action and promised that the boys would be rescued “in some few hours”.
It, however, took four days since the minister made the remarks before the students were released.
Their parents can now heave a sigh of relieve when their children return to them, but it is unclear if their captors released all the students.