Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has said the students and staff of Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State kidnapped by bandits last Wednesday were being kept in Birni Gwari, Kaduna State, by their abductors.
The governor, who disclosed this on Channels Television programme, Sunday Politics, on Sunday night, also assured that the abductees would soon be released
“The students of Kagara are located around Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State, which I believe very soon they would be back home,” the governor said. Matawalle also harped on cooperation from stakeholders and believes it is the key to unlock success in the country’s fight against criminality.
He said: “As you are aware, the security issue needs more commitment from all stakeholders. We have two major problems of insecurity in the north with banditry and Boko Haram.
“The security operatives are doing their best but we must all put our hands on deck to succeed. Another issue is that all the leaders who are stakeholders must come to terms with the challenges at hand and speak with one voice.’’
52 abducted passengers reconcile with families
Meanwhile, the 52 passengers abducted by bandits while travelling in Niger State Transport Authority, NSTA, bus were yesterday reconciled with members of their family after their release was secured by the state government late Sunday night.
They were received by the state governor, Alhaji AbubakarBello, at Government House at about 11:30pm on Sunday. Early yesterday, the abductees were subjected to series of medical checkup before they were finally released to their relatives, who had thronged the State Supply Company Suite opposite the Government House where they were accommodated under tight security.
Chief of Staff to the Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Kagara, while addressing the highly elated victims and their relatives on behalf of Governor Bello before they departed for their respective homes, said they should put behind their sad experiences as they go home and start thanking God for their safety. In an interview with some of the released victims, they said the aim of the bandits was to eliminate them due to their failure to part with their money and other valuables and pay the demanded ransom.
Victims recount experience
One of the victims, Mohammed Ndagi, who is a civil servant, said for the first two days, they were not fed at all and made to trek several kilometers to the thick forest. He said: “The aim of the bandits was to kill us. We were made to trek several kilometers until we got to the thick forest. “We were not given food nor water. We were made to sleep on bare floor in the forest and mercilessly beaten intermittently by the bandits.”
A female victim, simply called Hajiya Rabiu, said she never knew she would survive the agony.
She said: “The bandits were demanding money, phone and other valuables from us and threatened to kill us if we refused to cooperate with them. “We gave all with us, including cash, telephone and other valuables but they still threatened to kill us if we refused to comply with their instructions. They also demanded N50 million ransom from us, which we were unable to raise and this further aggravated their anger.”