Kankara Abduction: ‘It Was Conducted By Bandits,’ Masari Counters Boko Haram Claims
Governor Bello Masari of Katsina State on Wednesday countered a claim by the Boko Haram terrorist group on the kidnap of schoolchildren in Kankara, insisting that the boys were abducted by bandits.
“I am Abubakar Shekau and our brothers are behind the kidnapping in Katsina,” the leader of Boko Haram claimed in a voice message a few days after an attack on Government Science Secondary School, Kankara led to the missing of at least three hundred and thirty-three students.
But Masari has refuted the claim and said the schoolchildren were abducted by local bandits who are “known to all of us.”
“From the information available to us, this was conducted, executed by local bandits that are known to all of us,” he said on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
“These are bandits that are roaming the forests of Zamfara and parts of Kaduna State. So far, this is the information we have. Whatever role any other terrorist group must have played, we are yet to confirm it.”
While not ruling out a possible role played by terrorist groups in the abduction of the students, the former House of Representatives Speaker, maintained that “so far, we are yet to see the linkage.”
“But with regards to this abduction, we have not seen any direct involvement of Boko Haram or ISWAP, ” the governor of the north-western state added, five days after the abduction.
The 77-year-old equally stated that none of the missing students is dead, quashing fears about the safety of the boys.
On Friday night, gunmen suspected to be bandits attacked the school, kidnapping scores of students hundreds of kilometres (miles) from Boko Haram’s stronghold in northeastern Nigeria.
Police authorities said they received a report of the attack around 11:30 pm and were told the bandits were armed with AK-47 rifles. The Nigerian Military on Monday also narrated how the students were moved out of their school, saying the gunmen ferried them away with their (bandits) motorcycles.
The Katsina State Government had in the wake of the attack closed all boarding schools in the state to forestall similar incident.