75 abducted Zamfara pupils regain freedom
The 75 pupils of Government Day Secondary School, Kaya, in Maradun Local Government Area of Zamfara State who were abducted on September 1, 2021, have regained their freedom.
The Nigerian Television Authority broke the news via its verified Facebook page overnight.
Nigerian Police had reported that gunmen abducted more than 70 students in the country’s northwest state of Zamfara.
Zamfara State Police spokesman, Mohammed Shehu, had said in a statement that a large group of attackers stormed the Government Day Secondary School in the remote village of Kaya that Wednesday morning, seizing the pupils. He had given the number of seized children as 73.
“The abduction followed the invasion of the school by large numbers of armed bandits,” he had stated.
Shehu said that Police rescue teams were working with the military to secure the release of the pupils.
The bandits later returned five of the pupils within 24 hours.
A former councilor of Kaya ward, Yahaya Kaya, said that his niece was among those released by the bandits; adding that the five freed pupils had been returned to their hometown of Kaya.
It is not yet clear if any ransom was paid before the pupils were released.
Following the abduction, the Zamfara State Government had ordered the immediate deboarding of boarding facilities in 30 schools.
In reaction to the abduction, UNICEF, on September 3, said it was horrified by yet another attack on an educational institution in Nigeria
The UN agency, in a Press release distributed by the APO Group, stated, “Of the abducted students, 23 students escaped and returned home – two of them with bullet wounds. The abducted students are aged between 14 and 19.”
“We strongly condemn this attack, which has happened just a few days after kidnapped students of a school in Niger State, north-central Nigeria, were freed,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria. “We call on the authorities to take expedited action to rescue these students and reunite them with their families.”
“We reiterate that attacks on schools and abduction of learners are a gross violation of children’s rights, and a horrific experience for children to go through – one which could have long-lasting effects on their mental health and overall well-being,” said Peter Hawkins.
“Schools must be safe; no child should experience any harm because they went to school, and no parent should come to grief for sending their children to learn,” said Hawkins.