Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has charged security agencies to ramp up efforts on securing the release of abducted students and staff of a public school in Niger State, Northcentral Nigeria.
A statement by Garba Shehu, presidential spokesperson, on Wednesday, said the President had directed the personnel of the Armed Forces, Police and security chiefs to ensure the safe return of all the kidnapped victims.
HumAngle reported how a terror group stormed the Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State, abducting an unknown number of students and staff late Tuesday night.
The school has about 1,000 students. The actual figure of those abducted was not immediately known as the school authorities, and the Niger state government were yet to make an official statement on the incident.
Shehu explained in the statement that a rescue operation had already begun for their immediate release.
“Following these reports, the President has directed the Armed Forces and Police, to ensure the immediate and safe return of all the captives,” he said.
“The President has also dispatched to Minna, Niger State a team of security chiefs to coordinate the rescue operation and meet with state officials, community leaders, as well as parents and staff of the College.”
He quoted the president as saying “Our prayers are with families of the victims of this attack.”
‘Not The First Time’
The recent attack comes barely two months after more than 300 students were abducted from a public school in Kankara, in nearby Katsina State, Northwest Nigeria.
Their abduction was first contested when Boko Haram insurgents who have been causing havoc in the northeast, claimed responsibility.
But it was later learnt that it was the handiwork of ‘bandits’ believed to be loyal to the terror group.
The boys were later released.
With camps in Rugu forest, which straddles Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger states, the ‘bandits’ maim and kidnap residents of rural villages where the government is said to be far removed from them.
With their recent attacks on schools, there are growing concerns about drawing lessons from Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast who are waging a decade-long insurgency to establish an Islamic state.
In 2014, Boko Haram insurgents abducted 276 schoolgirls from their school dormitories in Chibok, Borno State—one of the most ruthless attempts by the terrorist group to debase Western education.
Of the abducted schoolgirls, 164 have since returned while 112 remain missing.
Three years later, 111 schoolgirls were kidnapped by terrorists in Dapchi, the same Borno State.
But while Boko Haram insurgents pitch their campaign on establishing an Islamic state, the bandits have been said to be driven by financial gains of their deadly attacks.
Critics have criticised the government’s handling of the security situation in the country.
But the Nigerian Army has been stepping up efforts to bring an end to the insurgency with the new service chiefs.
President Buhari said his administration would support the Armed Forces “in their brave struggle against terrorism and banditry and urged them to do all that can be done to bring an end to this saga, and avoid such cowardly attacks on schools in the future.”
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