Bandits, who invaded Maraban Rido in the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State on Monday and abducted some students of the Bethel Baptist High School, Damishi, have reached out to the management of the institution to demand foodstuffs.
EyewitnessMedia gathered that the criminals asked for food items such as rice, beans, seasoning and oil to feed the students.
A member of the school management, who confided in one of our correspondents on Tuesday, stated that the bandits said 121 students of the school were in their custody, explaining that the bandits first called on Monday and allowed one of the students to speak to a top member of the school management.
It was learnt that they called again on Tuesday and allowed two senior students, a boy and a girl, to speak to a top official of the school. The abducted students confirmed that there were 121 of them with the bandits.
“When the phone rang, the bandits first spoke to the member of the management. They said a senior student was directed to count the students in their custody and the boy confirmed that 121 students were being held. They also asked for food such as rice and beans as well oil to feed the students.
“Later, the senior student, who counted the abductees, said there were 121 of them with the bandits.”
The management of the school under the leadership of the proprietor who is also the President, Kaduna Baptist Conference, Rev Ishaya Jangado met on Tuesday on ways to rescue the abductees.
The meeting lasted several hours amidst threat by the parents to embark on another round of protest and block the Kaduna-Kachia Highway, where the school is located.
The parents, mostly women, had indeed blocked the highway before operatives of the Kaduna State Vigilante Service prevailed on them to abandon the protest.
The parents also held a prayer session for God’s intervention in the rescue of their children from the kidnappers’ den.
Shortly after that, Jangado confirmed to newsmen that no fewer than 121 students were in the custody of the kidnappers.
He said 28 students were “recovered” on Monday after the bandits attacked the school.
He explained that the total number of students in the boarding house was 154 and that 28 were recovered, while 121 were in the bandits’ custody. He, however, did not provide any explanation on the remaining five students.
“For now, we know that we have 154 students in the school hostel and yesterday (Monday) after the exchange of fire between the soldiers and the bandits, we came to the school and recovered 28 students; some of them were hit in many places. In the course of being taken away, some of them escaped and they came back to the school.
“So, the total number of students we recovered yesterday (Monday) was 28 and today (Tuesday), by the grace of God, we got a call from the bandits and they assured us that our children are well and doing okay.
“In fact, we had the privilege of speaking with a few of them. They counted themselves in the jungle and they gave us information that they were 121, and when we put the number together with what we have recovered, we discovered that the number is exactly the same as the number of students we have in the hostel.”
He also said the management of the school would be willing to seek out any individual, including the controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, for intervention to secure the release of the students.
When asked if he would seek Gumi’s intervention, Jangado said, “Well, if something is burning in your hand, whatever you can touch to make your hands cold, you will touch it.
“Whosoever will come to our rescue, the person is welcome. All the parents are crying about is for their children to come back. So, whosoever can intervene to make the children come back, the person is welcome.”
On if the management would seek the support of the National Baptist Conference, the national body of the church in Nigeria, Jangado noted that the body would be informed of the attack but it would not be involved in negotiation or payment of ransom should the need arise.
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