Five of the 39 students abducted by bandits from the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka in Kaduna State have regained freedom.
The five students returned on Monday afternoon and were taken to a military medical facility for examination, the Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs in the state, Samuel Aruwan, said in a statement.
“The Nigerian military has informed the Kaduna State government that five of the many kidnapped students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna were recovered this afternoon and are presently in a military facility where they are undergoing a thorough medical check-up.
“The Kaduna State government will provide updates on further operational feedback to be received on this case,” the statement read.
The five students and 34 of their colleagues were abducted by bandits who invaded the school on March 11, 2021.
The assailants stormed the school very early in the morning with the intention to abduct many students in what can be described as a silent attack.
Their operation was, however, thwarted by soldiers who promptly responded to a distress call and engaged the bandits in a fierce gunfight.
‘Negotiating With Bandits Is A Crime’
This led to the rescue of 180 people, comprising 132 male students, 40 female students, and eight civilian staff.
Despite the intervention of the soldiers, the assailants abducted 23 female and 16 male students – a situation that has left their parents in despair with calls on the government to rescue them.
One of those missing was a female student, Fatima Shamaki, whose father died from a heart attack after the news of her abduction was broken to him.
Ibrahim Shamaki was said to have fallen ill and later died while his relatives were about to take him to a hospital for treatment.
Amid the agitations of the parents of the missing students and meetings with the state authorities, the government has insisted that it would not negotiate with the bandits but would ensure the students return home safely.
Recently, Governor Nasir El-Rufai featured on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics where he warned that anyone caught negotiating with bandits on behalf of the state government would be prosecuted.
But the parents, in their reaction, vowed to do everything possible to get their children out of captivity, including negotiating with the bandits no matter the consequences.