×

Kuriga: Gov Sani Receives 200 Police Special Forces, Elated Over Students’ Release

137 hostages - 76 females and 61 males - were rescued in the early hours of Sunday in neighbouring Zamfara State.


A file photo of Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State

 

Following the rescue of the kidnapped students of Lea Primary and Government Secondary School Kuriga in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Governor Uba Sani has received 200 police special intervention forces ahead of their deployment to the community and other vulnerable areas in the state.

The governor received the Special Forces on Sunday at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House accompanied by his deputy, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe and other top Kaduna State Government officials.

The deployment of the special forces is to protect residents of vulnerable communities in Chikun,  Kajuru, Birnin-Gwari and other frontline locations who have been under siege by bandits and terrorists in recent times.

Addressing the troops, Governor Sani expressed happiness over the release of the 137 Kuriga students, noting that their release was made possible by the joint efforts of all security agencies.

READ ALSO: Abducted Kuriga Schoolchildren Released After Weeks In Captivity, Says Gov Sani

He, however, expressed optimism that the deployment of the police special forces and other military interventions will help to forestall incidents of mass abductions in Kaduna State.

Meanwhile, the students are being expected at the government house upon their arrival from Zamfara State, where they were rescued in the early hours of today.

The students will be received by the governor on arrival,  after which they will be taken to a medical facility for medical examination.

Their release comes two weeks after they were taken away in what was one of Nigeria’s largest mass kidnappings in years.

The students, about 287, were kidnapped on March 7 when the gunmen on motorcycles rode through their school, taking them away in an incident that sparked outrage and condemnation from several quarters including the UN children’s welfare agency UNICEF.

A spokesman of the Defence Headquarters, Major General Edward Buba said 137 hostages – 76 females and 61 males – were rescued in the early hours of Sunday in the neighbouring state of Zamfara.

“In the early hours of 24 March 2024, the military working with local authorities and government agencies across the country in a coordinated search and rescue operation rescued the hostages,” Buba said in a statement.

Earlier, a security source said the students had been freed in a forest and were being escorted to Kaduna’s capital for medical tests before being reunited with their families.

Abductions at Nigerian schools were first carried out by the jihadist group Boko Haram, which seized 276 students from a girls’ school in Chibok in northeastern Borno State a decade ago. Some of the girls have never been released.

Last week, the gunmen demanded 1 billion naira ($690,000) for the release of the missing children and staff. The government had said it would not pay any ransom. The practice was outlawed in 2022.

But kidnappings by criminal gangs demanding ransoms have become an almost daily occurrence, especially in northern Nigeria, tearing apart families and communities that must pool savings to pay ransoms, often forcing them to sell land, cattle and grain to secure the release of their loved ones.