Nigerian police rescued 21 kidnapped students – Official

ABUJA— Nigerian police rescued 21 children abducted on Friday night by bandits while being taken to an Almajiri school in Zamfara State.

The bandits were said to have blocked the Gusau-Funtua federal highway in Tsafe Local Government Area in the state and abducted several people in five vehicles.

Most of the affected vehicles were commercial.

In a statement police spokesperson in the state, Mohammed Shehu, said some of those abducted have been rescued.

He said the police acting on information that bandits had blocked the road, sent a team to dislodge the gunmen.

“The police operatives succeeded in rescuing 21 kidnapped children including two female who were coming from Rini village in Bakura area of Zamfara State to Katsina State for Almajiri Islamic school. Along with their scholar, Lawali Ibrahim, and the driver of the vehicle were among the victims that are currently in captivity,” the statement said.

Shehu said the commissioner of police had deployed more officers to complement the effort of the joint security operatives working to rescue the remaining victims and apprehend the perpetrators.

He also called on drivers to avoid night journey.

Bandits in Sokoto, Zamfara and Katsina states now attack highways, forcing the closure of major roads including the Jibia-Zurmi-Kaura Namoda-Gusau road, and Kankara-Sheme road in Katsina and Zamfara states.

Separately, the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State, John Hayab, has confirmed that 120 abducted students of Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna State have been freed so far.

In a statement issued in Kaduna on Saturday, Hayab recalled that in the early hours of July 5, 2021, bandits invaded the school located at Maraban Damishi, Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State and kidnapped 121 students.

He said the number of the released students includes one student who was freed on Dec 28, 2021, and another one who was freed on Jan 1.

“With the release of these two students, a total of 120 students have regained their freedom so far and only one student is still with the bandits,” he said.