‘How bandits fulfilled their promise to attack Kebbi School’

A member of the House of Representatives, Tanko Sununu, has described the attack on the Federal Government College, Birnin-Yauri in Kebbi State, as a promise fulfilled by bandits.

The lawmaker, who represents Ngaski/ Shanga/ Yauri Federal Constituency, said that Thursday’s incident was the latest in the chain of attacks on communities in the area.

While featuring as a guest on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, on Friday, Sununu narrated what transpired in the build-up to the attack that left a yet-to-be-ascertained number of students of the school missing.

Hear him: “What really happened is that about two weeks ago, we had an episode when bandits residing within parts of the areas bordering Zamfara, Niger, and Kebbi came up through one of the villages in my constituency.

“They killed a policeman and found their way until they reached Ibeto area where we have a quarry, killed some security men and kidnapped some of the foreign workers in the quarry and left.

“10 days later, they came back to the same area and entered into my constituency bordering some villages, and they had more than a seven-hour field operation going from house to house, room to room, collecting money, phones, cows, and any machine they deemed useful for their operations, and they left a message behind that they would soon be back.

“To fulfill their promise yesterday (Thursday), we had intelligence that they were on their way coming. Around 10:30 in the morning, they reached their final destination – the Federal Government College, Birnin-Yauri.”

Sununu noted that as soon as the bandits got to the school, they were faced with a tough task as they were initially resisted and engaged in a gunfight by operatives of the Mobile Police and Police Counter-Terrorism Unit stationed at the school.

He disclosed that the fire exchange lasted for a long period before the bandits overpowered the security operatives due to their large number.

The bandits, the lawmaker stated, succeeded in killing a policeman and gained access into the school and abducted an unspecified number of students and five teachers.

He explained that it was difficult to ascertain the exact number of students abducted as parents from nearby villages and towns raced to the school to take their children away immediately after the incident.

Sununu, however, gave an assurance that the military has swung into action, noting that progress has been made.

He said: “As at last night, I had a discussion with the Field Commander of Operation Hadarin Daji who said that they have succeeded in entering into the den of the kidnappers and I think this is a major success because the security agencies are now taking the fight to the base of the kidnappers”.

Meanwhile, Nigerian Army said on Friday that its troops operating under the auspices of Operation Hadarin Daji have been on hot pursuit of bandits who abducted some students and teachers from Federal Government College, Birnin Yawuri on Thursday, June 17, 2021

It said in a statement signed by the new Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, that two teachers and five students have so far been rescued after a fierce exchange of fire with the criminals.

“The rescue followed an initial encounter with the abductors in the early hours of today 18 June 2021 after trailing the kidnappers from Yawuri through Riyao to Sombo community, where the kidnappers who had split into two groups fled.

“With one group conveying the abducted children, while the second group conveyed rustled cattle,” he said.

According to him, “the land troops in conjunction with elements of the Nigerian Air Force, who provided close air support during the rescue mission intercepted the two groups at about 2.30 am and engaged them in a fire fight leading to the successful rescue of the teachers and students.

“The troops also recovered 800 cattle rustled by the bandits. The gallant troops are still on the heels of the kidnappers in order to rescue the remaining abductees still in captivity.

“Sadly, a casualty was recorded during the exchange. A female student was found to have given up the ghost as a result of exhaustion. The rescued teachers and students will be handed over to the Kebbi State Government”, he stated.

Nwachukwu said the Nigerian Army appreciates the cooperation so far from good spirited citizens and wishes to solicit for more.

Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, Maj Gen Faruk Yahaya, has directed the Commander to spare no effort until all the abducted persons are safely rescued and reunited with their loved ones.

In the meantime, Police authorities in Kebbi State have given more updates on the abduction of an unspecified number of students from the Federal Government College, Birnin-Yauri.

Mr. Nafi’U Abubakar, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, disclosed that the gunmen used a stolen vehicle to convey the abducted students.

He made the disclosure in a statement on Friday in reaction to reports that the bandits who attacked the school used a police vehicle to kidnap about 50 students from the school.

Abubakar explained that the assailants used a white Hilux van marked KBSJ 29, which was hijacked along the Birnin-Yauri Road, to perpetrate the crime.

He insisted that the bandits never used any police van as claimed, adding that the number of students missing after the incident was still unknown.

According to the command spokesman, a rescue operation to ensure the safe return of the students is ongoing by the security agencies.

He promised that the police would give more updates on the progress made as events unfold and warned against spreading false information.

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