By Justina Asishana, Minna
Scores of pupils were yesterday abducted from Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School, Tegina, Niger State.
The Niger State government and the Police Command, which confirmed the incident, did not specify the number of the pupils that were kidnapped.
Residents however, put the number at over 200.
The Islamic school, located near the Tegina Police Station in Rafi Local Government Area, was established by a retired immigration officer.
Yesterday’s abduction came barely 24 hours after the 15 Greenfield varsity students and three members of staff were released by their abductors after collecting N180 million and eight motorcycles.
The Greenfield varsity students were released after spending 40 days in the custody of bandits.
The raid on the Islamic school also came some months after the abduction of 27 school students, three members of staff and 12 members of their family from Kagara Science College, Kagara. Kagara is also in the same Rafi Local Government Area.
A statement by the state government said 11 children were released by their abductors because they were “minors”.
The statement, signed by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello’s Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mary Noel Berje, reads: “Eleven children who were too small and couldn’t walk, among the kidnapped Islamiyya students, were released by the gunmen.”
She quoted the governor as describing the serial attacks as unfortunate and unbecoming. He assured the people that the Joint Military Taskforce have been mobilised and on the trail of the gunmen for possible isolation and ambush.
Bello appealed for calm and reitrated the strong resolve of the state government to protect the lives and property of the citizens as a matter of utmost importance and priority.
The statement added: “A number of coventional Islamiyya students of Salihu Tanko Islamic School, Tegina in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State have been abducted. The number of abducted students of the Islamiyya is yet to be confirmed as the very little ones that cannot go through the bush path are released.
“However, two people were shot in the cause of the attack, with one person confirmed dead while the other person is critically injured.
“The State Government is still gathering security reports on the attack to take necessary measures to secure the release of those kidnapped.
One other kidnapped person said to be an internally displaced person (IDP), was shot dead in the attack while many others were injured.
It was learnt that the gunmen invaded the town at about 3:45 pm and shot into the air to scare the people.
The Director-General of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Inga, who also confirmed the incident, said that the details were not known yet.
He said: “We don’t have the details yet.”
A statement by State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Wasiu Abiodun reads: “On 30/05/2021 at about 1500hrs, armed bandits on board motorcycles in their numbers invaded Tegina town, Rafi LGA, shooting indiscriminately and abducted a yet to be ascertained number of children at Salihu Tanko Islamic School, Tegina. The bandits shot one person dead in the process.”
The statement said that the Command has mobilised all tactical teams, including Operation Puff Adder 2 to the location to rescue the victims.