By Luka Binniyat
KADUNA—Five students of the College of Education, Gidan Waya, Jema’a Local Government Area, Kaduna State, were, Sunday evening, reportedly shot dead close to Gidan Waya, when a commercial car taking them to school from Kafanchan was waylaid by herdsmen, sources told Vanguard yesterday.
Vanguard gathered that the herdsmen ambushed the taxi carrying six passengers near Gidan Waya, in the troubled southern part of Kaduna State and shot five of the commuters, but spared the life of the driver, Sunday evening.
However, Kaduna State Police spokesman, ASP Usman Aliyu, said he was not aware of such development.
He said: “In fact, you know what, nothing like that happened.”
Also, the Senator representing Southern Kaduna, Senator Danjuma Laah, told Vanguard that he has also been informed that six students of the school were killed in an ambush, but that the Kafanchan Police Area Commander has denied the incident.
“I am still in Abuja and I am doing everything to find out what really happened and I will get back to you,” he said.
A relation of one of the victims, Michael Joseph, said his brother, James Joseph, 26, a final year student of Mass Communication in the College of Education, Gidan Waya, had spent the weekend in his native home of Kurmin Musa, Jaba council, Kaduna State, and was returning to school.
He said the driver of the vehicle suddenly stopped at a sharp bend on the Kagoro-Passakori- Gidan Waya Road around 5p.m., Sunday, claiming the car had developed a problem.
He said: “Suddenly, a group of armed herdsmen emerged from the bush, brought out the five passengers and summarily shot them at point blank range. They did not touch the driver. The killers disappeared back into the bush.
“My family was informed that a farmer, who was on a hill not far away, saw everything. We have taken the corpses to the Zangon Kataf General Hospital.”
COE source speaks
When contacted, one of the management staff of the institution said it was true that such violence took place, but that only four of the victims were students of the school.
He said: “I cannot talk to you officially. But I can attest that it was four of the victims that were students of COE, Gidan Waya.”
Natives of the place claimed that since residents of the villages on that axis have all fled, after their homes were burnt, the road had become very insecure.
COE, Gidan Waya had been shut down last November when many of its surrounding communities came under siege from herdsmen. But, some students still stayed back, especially final year students.