Gunmen suspected to be bandits have stormed Federal Government College, Birnin-Yauri in Kebbi State and abducted an unspecified number of students and four teachers.
The gunmen also killed a police officer during the attack.
The police in Kebbi confirmed the attack to Channels Television.
The abduction is the latest in a series of school kidnappings that have rocked the country in recent times.
In late May, about 200 students of an Islamiyya school in Niger state were abducted by gunmen.
The abductors usually demand a ransom before students are released.
Some 14 students and staff of Greenfield University in Kaduna were released in May after parents reportedly paid over N150 million ransom and bought eight motorcycles for the bandits.
The Federal Government has denied ever paying ransom to release kidnapped persons and has discouraged the idea.
The government has also repeatedly promised to end the abduction of students across the country.
The school kidnappings have persisted as the country continues to battle several security challenges, including but not limited to an insurgency in the North-East, banditry in the North-West, secessionist agitations in the South-East and Fulani-Herdsmen crises across the Middle-Belt and several South-West states.
Police launch manhunt
Kebbi, a northwest state about 600km away from Abuja, has been in the news lately for the wrong reasons.
Earlier in June, at least 66 people were said to have been killed in attacks launched by gunmen on several communities in Danko-Wasagu local government area of the state.
At least 36 people also died after a boat capsized in the Ngaski local government area of the state in late May.
According to police spokesman Nafiu Abubakar, Thursday’s attack and abduction started when the bandits, in their large numbers, invaded the school at about 12 noon and started shooting sporadically to create panic among the students and teachers.
He said the Bandits were able to abduct four teachers and an unconfirmed number of students away to an unknown destination.
Abubakar also disclosed that a policeman lost his life, while one student sustained gun shot injury during an exchange of fire between security operatives and the bandits.
He added that security operatives have launched a manhunt for the bandits with a view to rescuing the kidnap victims and arresting the criminals.
An armed robbery attack has been foiled by operatives of the Nigeria Police Force in Zamfara State.
The standoff which took place on Sunday along Gusau-Sokoto Road, near Dogon Karfe in Bakura LGA, led to the killing of many bandits who engaged the police for about four hours.
According to a communique by state police spokesman SP Mohammed Shehu, the robbers planned to rob innocent commuters of their valuables but were valiantly repelled by police tactical operatives deployed to safeguard the road against any invasion by criminal elements.
Shehu disclosed that many bandits were fatally injured with some of them believed to have escaped with gun injuries. He further noted that the corpses of those killed have been properly taken care of.
The spokesman said the road is now cleared for motorists and other road users with rigorous confidence-building patrol being intensified to avert hitches.
Tactical operatives including special forces personnel are, however, still combing the surrounding forest to ensure that the fleeing assailants are either apprehended or neutralized.
Sunday’s foiled attack comes barely two days after at least 53 persons were killed in an attack by bandits on some villages in Zamfara State leading to the cancellation of activities lined up for the Democracy Day celebration in the state.
Scores of motorcycle-riding gunmen called bandits earlier on Thursday through Friday, invaded the villages of Kadawa, Kwata, Maduba, Ganda Samu, Saulawa and Askawa in the Zurmi district, shooting residents.
The gang attacked farmers in their fields and pursued others who fled to escape the assaults.
Zamfara police spokesman Mohammed Shehu said 14 bodies had been taken to the state capital Gusau on Friday, and added that “policemen deployed in the area following the attacks.”
Local residents said 39 more bodies had been recovered and buried in the neighbouring town of Dauran.
“We recovered 28 bodies yesterday and 11 more this morning from the villages and buried them here,” said Dauran resident Haruna Abdulkarim.
“It was dangerous to conduct the funeral there because the bandits are harbouring in the Zurmi forest and could return to attack the funeral,” said another resident, Musa Arzika who reported the same death toll.
Villages in the Zurmi district have been repeatedly raided by bandits, and local residents blocked a major highway last week, calling on the authorities to end the attacks.
In reaction to this, Governor Bello Matawalle suspended the Emir of Zurmi, Atiku Abubakar Muhammad.
The governor also cancelled all activities line up for the Democracy Day celebration and condemned the attack.
“People should remain calm and gentle, as well as go about their normal businesses. Security agents have been mobilised to the affected communities and directed to deal ruthlessly with anyone found disrupting the peace being enjoyed by our people.
“The government deemed it necessary to suspend all the activities lined up for the democracy day for now, until further notice,” the statement read in part.
The governor asked residents to use Democracy Day to reflect and continue to pray for the intervention of God Almighty, to restore lasting peace in our state, region, and the country in general.
Things Are Getting Worse By The Day
In his reaction to the tragic incident within Zurmi District, Governor Bello Matawalle on Saturday said the state of insecurity in the state is worsening at an alarming rate.
“I feel saddened by this unfortunate and barbaric act of cowardice,” he said. “With a heavy heart, I convey my condolences on behalf of my family and the entire people of the State over this massacre.
“In recent weeks, the act of banditry has reverted to the ugly dimensions it had prior to the coming of my administration. The marauders kill without regard for any rules of sanity. Women, the elderly, and children are not spared. As a result, a large number of people have been displaced in nearly every town in the State.
“My dear people of Zamfara people, you are witnesses to what we have accomplished from the beginning of our administration, particularly the peace and reconciliation efforts that we initiated and achieved. As a result, we have been able to shift our violent narratives to ones of optimism and peaceful coexistence.
“Unfortunately, things suddenly took a dramatic turn, and things are getting worse by the day. It is clear that some invincible hands are plotting evil against our people with the goal of making our State as terrifying as it were in the years gone by. My constant prayer is for Allah to reveal those who are perpetrating these cruel atrocities against our people,” Matawalle stated.
The Governor urged communities to defend themselves against the bandits while pledging his administration’s commitment to securing the state.
Operatives of the Kaduna State Police Command have rescued five people who were kidnapped by bandits in Jemaa and Igabi local government areas of the state.
The Command’s Public Relations Officer, Muhammad Jalige who disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday, said the bandits intercepted a vehicle along Jagindi Godo-Godo road in Jemaa local government on Monday, and abducted the occupants.
On receiving the information, Jalige said the Divisional Police Officer in Kafanchan led a team of policemen to the scene, gave the bandits a hot chase and successfully rescued the three victims unhurt.
In a related development, the operatives of the command on the same date, rescued a woman and her daughter from bandits in Rigasa area of Igabi local government area of the state.
According to police reports, some armed bandits also invaded the residence of one Abdulganiyu Husseini of Mahuta Community, kidnapped him, his wife and daughter and were said to be heading to the forest.
On getting the hint of the incident, operatives were immediately mobilized to the area and engaged the bandits in a fierce exchange of fire of which the superior and tactical fire power of the police forced the bandits to abandon the wife and her daughter while the husband was whisked away.
The police, however, said efforts are being intensified to rescue the victim and arrest the culprits.
At least three persons were killed during an attack by bandits along the Kaduna-Zaria highway in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The bandits were said to have invaded Dunki village near the highway on Monday morning and started shooting sporadically, and in the process, killed two residents of the area.
Confirming the incident, the Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan said that the bandits were sighted by troops of the 4Demo Battalion of the Nigerian Army, moving towards the highway from Sharu village in the Kerawa area.
He said the troops, acting on credible intelligence on the bandits’ movement, laid an ambush and intercepted them at Lambar Zango and Hawan Kwaranza villages, where bandits were engaged in a fierce firefight, resulted in them suffering several casualties.
The bandits, having been decisively halted by the troops on these fronts, however, retreated hastily via another route and in the process attacked Dunki village, where they killed two residents.
The bandits also killed an unidentified male traveler and later raided Mashashiya and Farguza villages, from where they stole some livestock and other valuables.
He said spouses of some pastors who also sustained injuries in the attack are presently receiving medical attention in a private facility and citizens will be updated on further developments emerging from the area.
Similarly, security agencies also confirmed the killing of three travellers and injuring of several others around the Lambar Zango area of Kaduna-Zaria Road in Igabi Local Government Area.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai in reaction condoled families of the deceased and prayed that God grants them eternal rest.
The Governor who further prays for the speedy recovery of those receiving medical attention also directed the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency to carry out an immediate assessment at the church and the other affected building in Kabai village.
In another attack, about ten people were killed and many animals rustled as bandits attacked Bardi And Girkau villages of Anka local government.
According to a source in Anka, the bandits invaded the villages about 9pm Thursday evening and started shooting sporadically killing six people in Bardi village and four persons in Girkau village.
The bandits also set one motorcycle ablaze and took two away.
Spokesperson of the Zamfara State Police Command SP Shehu Mohammed said troops have been deployed to the affected communities and efforts is ongoing to trace the perpetrators and ensure they face the full wrath of the law
Police authorities in the state have confirmed the attack, saying the bandits were swiftly repelled by security operatives who recovered the rustled cattle from them.
In a statement on Thursday, the spokesperson for the command, Shehu Mohammed, explained that police tactical operatives deployed to Anka were alerted that many bandits had stormed the Fulani settlement to attack and rustle cows.
“A combined police team in collaboration with the military mobilised to the scene where they engaged the hoodlums in a gun duel.
“As a result, they scampered to the forest and escaped with possible gunshot wounds,” Mohammed said.
He added, “All the rustled cows were recovered for the Fulani community members. Rigorous confidence-building patrol is being sustained to avert any attempt by the bandits to regroup for another onslaught.”
In his reaction, the Commissioner of Police in Zamfara, Hussaini Rabiu, commended the joint security operatives for their prompt response to the incident and urged them to sustain the tempo until peace was restored in the state.
He also called on the residents to continue to support the police and other security agencies in the current fight against bandits and other criminals in Zamfara.
Abductors of the over 136 students and staff of Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School, Tegina, in the Rafi local government area of Niger State are demanding the sum of ₦110 million as a ransom for the safe release of the victims.
They threatened to kill the victims should the school or their parents fail to meet their demands by midnight of Tuesday this week.
The Head Teacher of the school, Abubakar Alhassan disclosed this to journalists on Tuesday, adding that the bandits’ call came in about 4:00 pm on Monday.
Alhassan said contrary to their expectation, the bandits claimed they have a total of 156 people with them made up of pupils and staff.
He said the management of the school has contacted the state government on the latest development but that the government is insisting on not paying ransom to the bandits.
This comes two days after bandits invaded Salihu Tanko Islamiyya school, a conventional Islamic school, and abducted many students including staff, killing one person and injuring one other person.
Although the number of those abducted were yet to be ascertained, but the proprietor of the school, Idris Umar told journalists on Monday that information gathered from parents indicated 136 students were kidnapped.
This is apart from the 11 pupils reported to have been freed immediately after the abduction because of their inability to keep pace with the abductors.
According to reports, parents and relations of the abductees have begun to raise money to take to the bandits.
But, on Monday, the Deputy Governor of Niger State, Ahmed Ketso had in a briefing at the government house in Minna explained the position of the state government that random would not be paid to kidnappers.
Another set of bandits stormed the Garin- Gabas on the same day during which they faced stiff opposition from the youths of the town,
The number of casualties on both sides could not be immediately ascertained.
Also today, some bandits raided Ungwan Bako in the Kotonkoro district of Mariga Local Government Area abducting many people mostly women and children.
The Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) confirmed the incidents but did not give details.
Police Public Relations Officer Niger State Police Command Public Relations Officer DSP Wasiu Abiodun did not respond to calls made to his cell phones for comments on the developments.
Meanwhile, the Niger State Government says it is taking measures to ensure the release of Islamic School children abducted by bandits in Tegina, Rafi Local Government.
Giving an update on the abduction to journalists at the Government House, the State Deputy Governor, Ahmed Ketso disclosed that the government was on pursuit of the bandits and efforts are being put in place to identify the bandits.
Ketso said that though the numbers of the kidnapped school children is not fully ascertained, efforts by security agencies to secure their release have been intensified.
Noting that there are many government schools in Tegina, he said the government was proactive to have deboarded the boarding schools and made sure every primary and secondary school has a semblance of the security team that can be able to respond immediately.
Describing the situation as unfortunate, the deputy governor said that the Islamiyya school has three components comprising of the nursery, primary and junior secondary school.
He assured that strategies are in place to secure the release of the abductees the same way those of Kagara boys were released ruling out the option of paying the ransom.
“We don’t pay ransom to abductors. We are trying to negotiate to see how we can bring them back safely,” he said.
He said that the government has made contact with some of the identified parents of the kidnapped children, assuring them of their safe return.
At least ten people have been killed by bandits during an attack and counter-attacks at two villages in Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The gunmen according to the Kaduna State Commissioner for internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan invaded Naiko village in Giwa local government and engaged the community volunteers in a gun duel, which led to the death of three residents of the community.
Aruwan explained that in a reaction to the killings, youths of Na’ikko village attacked a nearby Fulani settlement, Rugan Abdulmuminu and killed two persons whom they alleged to be involved in the initial attack.
In another incident, armed bandits invaded Dakyauro village of Sabon Birni in Igabi LGA and killed four persons after rustling about 25 cows.
Similarly, a community leader, Dauda Adamu has been killed by bandits at Ungwan Ayaba in Chikun local government area.
Meanwhile, Governor Nasir El-Rufai has expressed sadness over the attacks that led to the death of some people.
The governor while condoling with the families of all who lost their lives in the attacks, also wished those injured a speedy recovery.
El-Rufai noted with deep concern the incidents in Na’ikko village in Giwa LGA, appealing to the residents to embrace recourse to the law and avoid killings and reprisal actions that would prove utterly detrimental to peace in the area.
He assured farmers in Giwa, Igabi, Birnin Gwari, Kajuru and Chikun local government areas of the state government’s awareness of their plight, stating that his administration is taking active steps towards ensuring that they will continue to pursue their livelihoods in safety.
On the security challenges in Kaduna, the state government asked private schools operating in high-risk areas to adhere to the security advisories issued to them. This followed reports that some schools have continued to operate outside of the guidelines presented to them by the security agencies for the safety of their students and staff.
Central Bank’s Governor Godwin Emefiele has appealed to bandits to drop their arms and embrace the Federal Government’s initiative, Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
Emefiele while answering questions at the end of a two-day Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja on Tuesday said embracing the programme will be of help to the bandits.
“I would like to appeal to our brothers, who decide that they want to live in bushes and forests that they should please, begin to retreat, drop their arms and come and embrace Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.
“If they do so, it will help them but if they choose not to do so, they will be confronted by the security as this battle continues,” Emefiele said.
Speaking further on security matters, the head of Nigeria’s apex bank said there is interconnectivity between security and economy, noting that, “If you expect an economy to grow, the level of insecurity must be low because if there is a high level of insecurity, then the economy will suffer.”
He, however, expressed optimism over efforts by security operatives in combating various challenges facing Nigeria, announcing that the country is expecting six fighter aircraft before the end of the year.
“I am optimistic that the security operatives are doing their best to tackle insecurity,” the CBN boss noted.
“About three years ago, the Federal Government and the United States signed a pact that resulted in a government to government acquisition of military equipment out of which we are expecting 12 Tucano aircraft or fighter planes that will help combat insecurity.
“I am aware that six of them are coming to the country in the month of July and August. I am optimistic before the end of the year, around the year of the end, the security challenges confronting the country will substantially abate.”
The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2015 with the aim of creating a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and Smallholder Farmers (SHFs) of the required key agricultural commodities.
Nigeria’s apex bank said the programme thrust of the ABP is the provision of farm inputs in kind and cash (for farm labour) to smallholder farmers to boost production of these commodities, stabilize inputs supply to agro-processors and address the country’s negative balance of payments on food.
The CBN initiative is to promote economic diversification and discourage over-reliance on crude oil earnings and boost economic growth.