Timeline Of The Birnin Yauri School Kidnapping

In June 2021, a group of terrorists attacked Federal Government College (FGC) Birnin Yauri, Kebbi State and kidnapped scores of people. HumAngle has compiled a timeline of significant events about the abduction.

This timeline covers the period: from the early warning signals before the attack to the birth of the last child among the four children delivered by schoolgirls in captivity last week.

Before June 12, 2021 

In the weeks leading up to the kidnapping, there is an increase in activity by armed groups in the area, residents of Birnin Yauri say.

On May 24 2021, 130 children are abducted from Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School in Tegina, a community in the neighbouring Niger State.

In Birnin Yauri, the children at the school report hearing sporadic gunfire coming from the neighbouring town of Kimo. Terrorists are seen with guns taking a herd of cows through the nearby bush.

June 12, 2021: A notice that the school will be attacked is found

A letter, written in nearly illegible handwriting, is discovered threatening that FGC Birnin Yauri will be attacked on Thursday, June 17, 2021. In addition, eyewitnesses say, the letter contained the names of 12 female students they will target. It is reported to the school’s Vice Principal in charge of students’ affairs. The letter is dismissed as a prank.

A front view of the female hostel. Credit: Umar Yandaki/HumAngle

However, the school authority arranges for Police Officers to be stationed at the school’s gate.

June 17, 2021: Terrorists attack the College

Around 12 p.m, terrorists storm the College, exchanging fire with Police Officers. The terrorists overpower the security agents, killing one and breaking into the school. They injure a number of students in the gunfight, and two of the terrorists are killed by the Police. The terrorists abduct over 112 students and 8 teachers, and take them away in a pick-up truck and motorbikes. 

Later the same day, the Governor of Kebbi State, Senator Atiku Bagudu, visits the College and assures parents the government is committed to rescuing the schoolchildren.

June 18, 2021: Nigerian Army confront the terrorists

Troops belonging to Operation Hadarin Daji encounter the kidnappers and victims moving around Makuku forest in Kebbi State, around 50 miles east of Birnin Yauri, on the night of June 17 to 18. The soldiers engage the terrorists in what one of the victims says is ‘five hours of fire exchange.’ Around 26 of the abductees escape into the bush in the chaos. The troops killed one terrorist and recover four students and one teacher. 

June 19, 2021 Kidnappers arrive at their camp 

The terror group arrive at their camp with their remaining victims. According to someone who was later released, 89 abductees are counted in on their arrival.

The approximate location of where the girls might be being held. Credit: Mansir HumAngle

 During the day, a number of the kidnapped children and teachers who escaped into the bush begin to find their way home. 

June 20, 2021: Terrorists release a video, more victims discovered

A video and photos of the abducted students go viral on social media, particularly Facebook. The video, which according to a victim, was taken on Saturday, June 19, shows the abducted students in a thick forest. 

One of the photos released by the terrorists. Credit Muhammad B. Muhammad/Facebook

The voice of the terrorists’ leader, Dogo Gide, can be heard claiming responsibility for the abduction. He says: “I seek refuge in Allah from the outcast Satan. In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful. All thanks due to Allah, the lord of mankind. This is a message I am sending to the government of Nigeria. The man sending the message is Abu Abdallah, commonly known as Dogo Gide. I am the one who abducted these schoolchildren.”

On the same day, the Nigerian army discover three more students and a teacher in the bush, who likely escaped during the firefight on Friday, June 18.

July 2021: Terrorists threaten to “marry off” schoolgirls

In July 2021, the terrorists begin calling parents over the phone. They threaten to “marry off” the female abductees. On July 7, one of the kidnapped girls appears in a video with her face covered. The terrorists claim they have the schoolgirls’ “consent”.

Later in the month, the parents receive phone calls from the terrorists saying their children have been forcibly “married”.

August 1, 2021: Two students regain freedom

On Sunday, August 1, two students – a male and a female – are rescued by police in Babbar Doka village of Maru Local Government Area, Zamfara State. This is released to the media by the Zamfara State Police Commissioner, Hussaini Rabi’u. The students are given medical checks before being handed over to the Kebbi State Government. 

Dogo Gide is shocked after seeing the Police’s claim in the media, according to some of the released victim’s later testimony. He claims he released the two victims out of his own “benevolence”.

August 16, 2021: Three school children released

Three schoolchildren from Birnin Yauri and a teacher are reportedly freed. According to the media report, the children were “randomly picked” and released alongside a Chinese expatriate who was kidnapped by Dogo Gide sometime earlier than the Yauri schoolchildren. They are reportedly handed over to an intermediary in a village under Mariga Local Government Area of Niger State. 

August/September/October: One girl makes an escape

It is not clear the month in which the girl escaped. Our source’s memory of events in the forest is not precise. One day, the camp awoke to discover one of the girls had gone. The schoolgirl who was in SSS2 fled the terrorist camp at a point after the three school children were released in August and before the release of 30 victims in October. The terrorist leader was angry the girl had escaped. She made it back to her home in Niger state, according to testimony from released victims.

October 21, 2021: 30 victims released

In Oct. 2021, a total of 27 students and three teachers are released by the terrorists. They are taken to a government hospital in Kalgo, Kebbi State and later conveyed to the Government House in Birnin-Kebbi, where the Governor receives them before they are reunited with their families.

November, 2021: A boy released

On a day in November 2021, the terrorist Dogo Gide suddenly releases a male student without warning, according to later testimony of another released victim. The other victims thought it was a demonstration by the terrorist leader that he was showing “benevolence.”  But it is not clear if the boy’s release is negotiated.

January 2022: Last batch released

On January 8, 2022, terrorists release 30 students and one teacher of the FGC Birnin Yauri to intermediaries negotiating between the terrorists and the Kebbi State Government. 

A picture of the released children. Credit: Abdul Mutallib Sahabi Usman/Facebook

According to a report by the Nigerian news outlet, Daily Trust, three more regain their freedom in mid-January. Eleven schoolgirls remain with the terrorists.

June 17, 2022: Parents intensify efforts

The Yauri Emirate Development Association (YEDA) write letters to government, reminding them the remaining 11 schoolgirls have reached one year in captivity.  They plead for the government’s intervention to rescue the innocent girls. Letters are sent to the Governor of Kebbi State and the various lawmakers representing the people of Kebbi State at the National Assembly. There is no response from the government.

July 2022: A child is born

A girl gives birth in captivity, according to one of the girls who cannot be precise about the date. The 17-year-old captive delivered a baby girl for the terrorist “husband” enforced on her.

October 1, 2022: YEDA writes to the Federal Government

The association writes to the Chief of Staff to the Nigerian President and the country’s Chief of Defense Staff. Parents register their dissatisfaction with the government’s attitude toward their abducted children. While Nigeria is celebrating the 62-year anniversary of independence, parents are in trauma as their 11 children reach 473 days in captivity.  The government did not respond.

October 2022: The second child is born

By the end of October, another girl in captivity delivers a baby girl. The captive (name withheld), who spoke to HumAngle via phone, cannot remember the precise date. The captive who gives birth is a 14-year-old.

November 5, 2022: Another child is born

Another girl gives birth in captivity. The 15-year-old delivers a baby girl to the terrorist to whom she was forcibly “married”.

November 17, 2022: A boy is born

On Thursday, Nov. 17, a baby boy is born to a 16-year-old captive. The terrorists are planning to hold a naming ceremony in their camp for the babies born on Nov. 5 and 17. It is believed two others are pregnant at this time.

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Umar Aminu Yandaki

Umar Yandaki is a creative writer interested in promoting humanitarian values through documentation of historical issues and contemporary human insecurity. He is a first-class graduate of History from Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS), Nigeria. Yandaki is a doctoral researcher at the Department of History, Northwestern University, USA, where he is exploring historical memory and the politics of erasures in Northern Nigerian Historiography.

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