Bandits abduct schoolgirls in Zamfara

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Armed bandits have attacked Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State, kidnapping hundreds of schoolgirls.

This is coming barely a week after the abduction of dozens of schoolboys in Kagara, Niger State.

Witnesses said the bandits stormed the Zamfara school, located on the outskirt Kwanar Bagare, around 1:40am after breaking the gate.

Initial reports had put the figure of the missing students at 300, but sources in the school said the number of abducted students is “about 500”.

DAILY NIGERIAN reported that on Friday morning that there were over 600 students in the school, and less than 100 schoolgirls remain in the school after the invasion.

The police command in Zamfara said 317 students were abducted from Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe.

Abutu Yaro, Zamfara police commissioner, confirmed the number of missing students.

He said a joint search and rescue operation is already underway with a view to bringing back the girls.

Buhari issues ‘warning’ to bandits

President Muhammadu Buhari has described the abduction of hundreds of students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in Zamfara State as inhumane and totally unacceptable, sending out a strong warning to bandits and their sponsors.

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Reacting to the incident on Friday, President Buhari said that “this administration will not succumb to blackmail by bandits who target innocent school students in the expectations of huge ransom payments.”

In a statement signed by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Buhari said: “No criminal group can be too strong to be defeated by the government. The only thing standing between our security forces and the bandits are the rules of engagement.”

“We have the capacity to deploy massive force against the bandits in the villages where they operate, but our limitation is the fear of heavy casualties of innocent villagers and hostages who might be used as human shields by the bandits. Our primary objective is to get the hostages safe, alive and unharmed.”

President Buhari noted that “a hostage crisis is a complex situation that requires maximum patience in order to protect the victims from physical harm or even brutal death at the hands of their captors.”

He warned the bandits: “Let them not entertain any illusions that they are more powerful than the government. They shouldn’t mistake our restraint for the humanitarian goals of protecting innocent lives as a weakness or a sign of fear or irresolution.”

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The president appealed to state governments “to review their policy of rewarding bandits with money and vehicles, warning that the policy might boomerang disastrously.”

He also advised states and local governments to be more proactive by improving security around schools and their surroundings.

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