March 26, 2024

Army hands over 131 Kuriga schoolchildren, teachers to Kaduna govt

Army hands over 131 Kuriga schoolchildren, teachers to Kaduna govt

…Says 6 in hospital

By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo

KADUNA—The General Officer Commanding 1 Division of the Nigerian Army and Force Commander of Operation WHIRL PUNCH, Major General Mayirenso Saraso, presented 131 out of the 137 rescued Kuriga schoolchildren to Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State, yesterday.

The 137 schoolchildren were abducted on March 7, 2024, from a school in Kuriga, Chikun Local Government Area of the state.

Saraso said six of the 137 children were being attended to at an Army medical facility and would be allowed to join their fellow students when doctors certify them fit.

Sadly, he announced that one teacher who was also abducted, Mr. Abubakar, died in captivity.

Later, all the 131 school children were taken in buses to the Women and Children Shelter in Kaduna City for psycho-social therapy before they were handed over to their parents.

The GOC said: “We successfully freed 137, but you will discover that six of them are not presently with us here, they are being attended to medically at our facility at Darlet Barracks, one male and five female students, who have been hospitalised.

“The governor visited them last night and he saw all the students, including those lying on hospital beds. So, those six, when eventually discharged, will join their 131 colleagues that are here physically to complete the figure of 137.”

Governor Sani in his remarks, expressed appreciation to President Bola Tinubu and all heads of security agencies in the country for the successful rescue of the children.

He said: “I want to appreciate our children, who are here with us and are in high spirits. I want to make it very clear to all of us that from the very day that our children were unfortunately abducted from their school in the Kuriga community, the President has been with us from day one. He ensured that the security agencies would return our children home safely.

“I want to thank the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, for his able leadership and all the service chiefs and security agencies for their respective contributions and organised efforts, and that is why we are here today and happy to celebrate the release of our children.

“I want to appreciate many Nigerians who prayed day and night for the release of the children and today, God has answered our prayers.

“I want to make one clarification here, when this incident happened, some of us have been very encouraging with the efforts of the security agencies because we are working with them closely, sharing a lot of intelligence and we have been giving information and that is why we are here today.

“I also want to caution insecurity merchants and conflict merchants in Nigeria to be cautious with their utterances because, before the release of our children, a lot of people have been coming with a lot of permutations about how these children were released and what happened.”