By Ibrahim HassanWuyo
When gunmen raided the Government Girl’s Secondary School ,GGSS, Jangebe in Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara state and abducted over 300 schoolgirls, a local vigilante, Abubakar Adamu said he was together with soldiers that gave the bandits hot chase inside the bush.
Unfortunately, the vehicle conveying them got stucked due to the undulating terrain, and they couldn’t go further.
According to him,” while we were chasing the gunmen, we exchanged fire with them and we could hear children crying. We got so close that one of the gunmen on a motorbike had to abandon his bike and ran into the bush.”
Abubakar said the gunmen came at night in large number and encircled the school, making it hard for anyone to escape.
A father, Mukhtar Sani who claimed 3 of his daughters were among the abductees, explained that initially, people nearby thought it was the normal cattle rustlers who perpetrate their nefarious acts under the cover of the night that attacked the community. It was the wailings and cries of the female students that woke them up, pointing that something serious had happened in the area.
According to reports, there was confusion in the school premises on Friday when some parents went to check on the lucky students who were not abducted. It was said that security agents had, for reasons yet to be known, tried to prevent them from taking their daughters, which had led to a serious altercation in the school compound.
However, the Zamfara state Commissioner of Education in an interview, said nothing as such happened, but a minor misunderstanding that involved some journalists. “How can parents be prevented from taking their children? There was nothing as such,” he clarified.
When the commissioner was asked by the BBC Hausa on the Zamfara Governor, despite being an advocate of dialogue with the bandits and playing a major role in the release of the KanKara school boys, yet the bandits struck in Zamfara, the Commissioner said his boss had always ensure that things were put in place for the protection of life and property of citizens.
“Yes, His Excellency was open to dialogue with those bandits who want to lay down arms, but for those who are recalcitrant, the authorities are ready to handle them,” he said. According to reports from Jangebe, only 54 female students were left in the school. The police confirmed that 317 students were abducted.
The Police in a statement on Friday issued by SP Mohammed Shehu, the PPRO, said the Zamfara State Police Command in Collaboration with the military have commenced a joint search and rescue operations with a view to rescuing the 317 students kidnapped by the armed bandits in Government Girls Science Secondary School Jangebe in Talata Mafara LGA on 26th February 2021 at about 0100 hours.
“The Commissioner of Police CP Abutu Yaro,the Force Commander Operations Hadarin Daji, Major General Aminu Bande, Brigade Commander 1 Brigade, Nigeria Army Gusau and other state government officials led a heavily armed Re – enforcement team to Jangebe to complement the ongoing rescue operation in the locations where the students were believed to be taken to. ”
“The CP while interfacing with the Principal of the school and the parents, appealed to them to be calm as joint efforts of the Police and other security agencies will surely lead to the successful rescue of the students.”
An activist in Zamfara, Kabiru sani, who said 3 of his nieces were among the abductees, said the gunmen had forcefully broke the main entrance to the school ,overpowered the person manning the gate before they led the students on a long trek.
“The gunmen abducted over 374 students who came from different states. Some came Kaduna, others from Sokoto, Kano, from Jigawa and Kebbi.When the gunmen came, they blocked all the roads where security agents would come through. After breaking the main gate, they shot the guard man, but he managed to run away.”
“They started going from one hostel to them other, asking the girls to wake up and perform Sallat. The girls woke up and the gunmen with weapons. That was how they gathered the schoolgirls and herded them, away,” he said.
He said the remaining 54 students in the school, were kept in a nearby house.
As of Friday afternoon, many of the students have left the school to their respective states, in company of their parents or guardians.
However, there was heavy presence of security personnel in the troubled community, even as the military and other security agents continued to comb Zamfara bushes in search of the schoolgirls.