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We trek for 3 days without food, water, Just released students narrate ordeals


We trek for 3 days without food, water, Just released students narrate ordeals

From John Adams, Minna

The just released students of Salihu Tanko Isilamiya School in Tegina, Rafi local government area of Niger state have recounted their ordeals in the hands of their abductors, saying that they were made to trek for 72 hours without water and food before getting to their destination.

Over 130 pupils abducted from Tegina Islamiyya School in Rafi Local governments of Niger state have been released by after almost three months in captivity.

The children who were looking very sick and jittery on arrival at the government house in Minna, where they were received by the state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, also recounted how they were feed with only indomie morning and evening.

They also said that throughout the almost three months in captivity, they were no provision for them to bathe, and slept under trees in the bush for almost one month before a trampoline-made shelter were provided for them.

Speaking in Hausa, 10 years old Umar told our correspondent that they slept on the ground in the bush for many days before they were moved to a different local where they were given mats and slept three each in the mat.

According to him, “they kept the girls separate from us when it was time to sleep but we always eat together. They give two of us one sachet of water to drink during meals which is two times a day, and they did not give us water to bath”.

“They did not beat us, they only told us that we will soon go back home and that we should not be afraid. They told us that anybody who run away will die in the bush”, he recounts.

Over 100 Children age between six and 11 years were said to have been abducted from their school in broad daylight at about 11:00am on 30th May, 2021 by heavily armed bandits but while briefing newsmen in Minna on Friday when he received the children, the state government disclosed that only 92 were abducted.

Out of this number, only 91 returned back as the bandits could not account for the one, fueling speculation that he may have died.

However, after 89 days in captivity with series of negotiations between the parents and the bandits with the payment of unspecified amount of ransom, the children walked into their freedom on Thursday night with mix feelings from their parents.

While some of the parents could not hide their joy and happiness over the release of their children, others could not hold back their tears over the de-humanize condition which the children were subjected to in the last three months.

“We believed that it is a will of God and we can not question it. We thank God that the children came back at the end of the day, and life continues”, One of the parents who identified herself as Hauwa said.

But Hajiya Hamza could not hold back her tears due to the condition she saw her daughter, saying that “I can’t believe that this is my daughter. No this is a wicked act, just because of money that will die one day and leave it.

“These people don’t know God. I don’t think they have had children, it is only God that will judge them and their generation yet unborn”, she submitted.

Receiving the children at the government house in Minna, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, described as wicked the abduction of minors and subjected to inhuman treatment in the name of money, adding that nothing can be more wicked than Kidnapping innocent children.

According to him, “i wonder how you can abduct a year old innocent child and keep him or her for over 80 days, we need to do whatever it takes to bring those that did that to justice”.

He explained that though the kidnap of the children affected the morale and confidence of parents towards sending their wards to school, the state government is doing it’s best to ensure that schools in the state are safe.

“This has affected the moral and confidence of people from sending their children to school. We are making more efforts to secure our schools and, I think that is working. Schools in the areas where we cannot provide adequate security, those schools we have already shut down temporarily.

“We pray that Allah will not allow us to see anything like this again not only in Niger but in Nigeria as a whole. We also thank the issue has come to a complete close”, he stated.

On the health of the victims, the governor explained, “I have received information from the medical team that all our children about 92 including two other ones that were kidnapped by bandits are doing fine except four whose condition is critical. But we are going to release them to their parents”.

He then thanked the chairman of Rafi local government area and commissioner for Local Government for the role they played in the safe rescue of the children.

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