The Kogi State Confluence University of Science and Technology, on Sunday, declared a three-day mourning for two of its students who died in kidnappers’ den.

The university, in a statement on Sunday by the Registrar, Olufunke Hudson, expressed sadness over the development.

“It is with deep pain that the management of the Confluence University of Science and Technology, Osara hereby declares three days of mourning over the death of two of our students who were kidnapped on Thursday, 9th May, and killed on Saturday, 25th May, 2024,” the registrar said.

It had been reported that gun-wielding kidnappers on the night of May 9 invaded the Osara campus of the university and abducted an unspecified number of students.

The students were said to be attending a tutorial class in preparation for their first semester examination when the terrorists swooped on them.

As of May 17, security agencies were able to rescue 21 of them.

The military said the kidnappers abandoned the students during a gun duel.

On May 16, the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, ordered the deployment of police helicopter to Kogi State for the rescue of the remaining students with the kidnappers.

However, in a statement on Sunday, a non-governmental organisation, Education for All, disclosed that two of the students remaining in captivity had been killed by the kidnappers.

In a statement by its Publicity Secretary,   Nasir Ibrahim, the NGO identified the killed students as James Michael Anajuwe, a 100-level Information Technology student; and Musa Hussein, a 100-level Software Engineering student.

“It is sad that the criminals killed two of the students who were not among the 21 rescued through the operation coordinated by the Kogi State Government,” the NGO said.

“This is sad, callous and a call for collective action against attackers of educational institutions.

“We are aware that parents of the students were negotiating with the kidnappers which slowed down the offensive on the kidnappers by security agencies so as not to endanger the lives of the captives.

“We were very hopeful and optimistic that they would be released at the end of the negotiations. (But) information reaching us shows that the students allegedly killed were James Michael Anajuwe, a 100-level Information Technology student and Musa Hussein, a 100-level Software Engineering student of the University. They were allegedly killed at the kidnappers’ hideout in Kwara State.

“We are broken and shattered that despite the efforts of the parents, NGOs and the state government, we still lost these promising students. We call on the Kogi State Government to work with its Kwara State counterpart to take decisive action against the perpetrators who are said to be hiding in a forest in Kwara, very close to Kogi and Ekiti states,” the NGO stated.

The development was confirmed by the Kogi State Commissioner of Police, Bertrand Onuoha.

Reacting to an inquiry by The PUNCH on Sunday, Onuoha said,  “Yes, two of them were found to have been shot this morning.”

Describing the killing of the students as painful, the NGO said it should “provoke the office of the National Security Adviser to work with the Federal Ministry of Education to ensure the safety of our schools across the country.”

“It is unacceptable to lose children whose only offence was embracing education. Our nation must rise to the occasion to arrest the rising insecurity across the country,” it said.