Bandits strike in Kebbi, abduct students, teachers

From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

Bandits stormed the Federal Government College, Birnin Yauri, Kebbi State, yesterday, abducted yet to be ascertained number of students, five teachers and killed a policeman, in a mid day operation.

Multiple sources said several students and security men who sustained various injuries were receiving care at the Yauri General Hospital.

Commissioner of Police in the state, Adeleke Adeyinka-Bode, confirmed the attack in Birnin Kebbi.

“The truth is that the attack took place and five teachers have been taken away, four male and one female, but the number of students abducted are not known yet.

A parent, Mallam Monsur Yauri, explained that the bandits attacked the school in their hundreds on motorcycles and opened fire on the mobile police guarding the school.

The Commissioner of Police, Adeleke Adeyinka, assured parents and guardians of students that the Command was following credible leads and intensifying efforts to track the assailants and ensure the rescue of the students and teachers.  The command spokesman, SP Nafi’u Abubakar, said in a statement that a team, comprising operatives from the Police Mobile Force, anti-kidnapping and counter-terrorism units have begun combing nearby forests, routes and suspected hideouts of the criminals.

The police boss assured that the command would do everything within its power to ensure the abducted persons are safely reunited with their families and perpetrators brought to book and appealed to residents to assist with prompt information that would aid in solving the crime and apprehending the criminals.

Notwithstanding the assurance from the police, panic-stricken residents have begun mass exodus from the towns and communities in Yauri. At press time, no fewer than six villages had been deserted.

An activist from one of the villages, Mallam Muktar Yauri, told Daily Sun on phone that almost all the villagers have relocated for safety.

  “All the residents are running towards Yauri town for their protection. When the bandits attacked, about 200 of them, according to eyewitness, they were selective. They didn’t pick student who were not matured. They overwhelmed the security officers in the school as they shot sporadically. Wallahi, our people are in trauma now in Yauri Emirate.”

State Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Umar Halidu Alhassan told Daily Sun on phone that yesterday’s attack has unsettled residents.

“Wallahi, we’re not happy about this incident. It is unfortunate and all the stakeholders must rally round to protect our schools, our state and our people.

“It is unfortunate that such incident is happening in Zuru and Yauri axis. Government should take proactive measures to protect our schools, our students. Kebbi State has porous borders with neighbouring countries. Our government needs to do something about that because Zuru and Yauri Emirates have porous borders with even other states.”

Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Health Services, Tanko Sununu, who represents Ngaski/Shanga/Yauri Federal Constituency of Kebbi State, decried the insecurity in his constituency and called for the intervention of the Federal Government.

The lawmaker told journalists in Abuja that children and farmers in his constituency can no longer go to school or farm as a result of insecurity.

  “A week ago, we had another calamity when bandits  numbering about 300, each with AK-47 and using very strong motorcycles, came into my constituency.

“They had a field day and operated for more than eight hours, moving from house to house, room to room, collecting money, handsets, motorcycles and cattle. That has led to a massive influx of internally displaced persons into the headquarters of the Emirate in Yauri.

“However, we were able to convince people and they started going back to their respective areas. But they (bandits) left a message that they would be coming back. Taking it seriously, some people refused to go back and in the early hours of today (yesterday), they repeated what they had done earlier and they came into the constituency, sometime around 10.30 or thereabout.”

Sununu called on the Federal Government to look at Yauri’s position with its neighbouring Niger State.

“It has direct access to Zamfara State and west of Yauri is the back of River Niger. Our fear is that their major target is to enter Yauri. Now we are calling on the Federal Government to provide adequate security.”

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