- Says About 150 Kidnapped From School …One Parent Died of Shock
Some of the pupils kidnapped from Salihu Tanko Islamic school in Tegina, Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State have had their legs damaged by their abductors, proprietor of the school, Abubakar Alhassan has revealed.
Alhassan disclosed this during an interview on Arise TV, monitored by The New Diplomat, Wednesday.
He said one of the teachers kidnapped alongside the pupils told him that the bandits have been beating them, adding that some of the pupils’ legs have been damaged in the process.
According to reports, the armed bandits had stormed the Islamiyya school with various sophisticated weapons on Sunday, abducting scores of pupils who were attending Islamic lectures.
Confirming the incident, the school’s proprietor, Alhassan disclosed that about 150 pupils have been confirmed abducted by the armed bandits.
Recounting the incident, Alhassan stated that he was about entering the school when he saw the armed bandits at the premises of the school. According to him, the armed bandits came in about 25 motorcycles. He also stated that the bandits started shooting sporadically into the air to scare residents and security agencies away from the premises of the school.
In his words, “I wasn’t in the school premises when the attack was happening. I was about to cross the main road to the gate of the school. From the main road to the gate of the school is about 150 feats (30meters). I was trying to enter when I saw them(armed bandits) on bikes, the bikes are more than 25. All of the them were carrying heavy guns and ammunition, they used masks to cover their faces, and they started shooting in the air. Many people ran, I(Alhassan) myself ran to take cover to see what is going on. When they started shooting, they surrounded the school and other houses around the school, so from there they started there operation.”
Speaking further Alhassan also disclosed that the armed bandits have requested for N110 million ransom to secure the release of the abducted pupils. The headmaster stated that three teachers (one male and two female teachers) were also abducted by the armed bandits.
According to Alhassan, the armed bandits reached him via telephone call to request for the ransom. He disclosed that the bandits had initially requested for N310 million but after he negotiated with them it was reduced to N110 million.
In his words, “My teachers are with them(armed bandits), two female and one male. The teachers gave the bandits my number, so they called me as the head teacher here. They started calling me and negotiating. For the first time, they asked for N300 million, which we said we don’t have and then they came down to N100 million. They also said if we failed to pay the N100 million day before yesterday (Monday), they are going to increase the money to N110 million. That is the last price they gave us.”
Lamenting, Alhassan stated that the pupils are still very young. According to him, many of the abducted pupils are in the age bracket of 4-6 years.
He also added that a parent of the abducted pupils died of shock. According to him, the parent fainted when she heard the news and was immediately rushed to the hospital, however, all medical care proved abortive.
“I spoke with on of my teachers, she complained to me that they (bandits) have started beating them yesterday (Tuesday) and that they have no food and water. Some of the kids cannot move any, that is the situation we are right now. In fact we are in danger, one of the kids’ parent is now dead because of the incident. She only has one child, when she heard about the news, she fainted day before yesterday (Monday) before you know, yesterday evening (Tuesday) she died.” Alhassan said.
However, the proprietor confirmed that about 10 abducted students who are toddlers have been released by the armed bandits. He disclosed that the toddlers were released on Sunday because they couldn’t walk.
Alhassan also explained that he has tried to reach out to the state government, but noted that his effort hasn’t yielded any positive result.