Students kidnapped by bandits in several parts of the country are still in captivity despite payments of some ransom by their parents.

The armed men who kidnapped pupils from an Islamiyya school in Tegina, Niger State, and the Federal Government College, Birnin-Yauri, are holding on to their victims with varying demands.

File photo used to illustrate story.

Gunmen kidnapped not less than 136 school pupils from Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School in Tegina on May 30 while about 80 students were taken from FGC Yauri in Kebbi State on June 17.

Ali Kachalla, the bandit’s kingpin holding the Tegina pupils, despite receiving a N50million ransom has refused to release the children but rather made fresh demands which the distraught parents say they could not meet up with.

Kachalla, it was also gathered, has refused entreaties from Fulani leaders engaged as mediators to secure the release of the pupils who have been in the kidnappers’ den for almost 90 days.

“A three-man delegation went to meet him but on learning of their arrival, he avoided going to his house for many days until the old men left in frustration,” a source involved in the process told Daily Trust.

He also described Kachalla as “merciless and cantankerous.”

Meanwhile, the fate of over 70 FGC Yauri students is yet to be ascertained as the bandits’ arrowhead who kidnapped them, Dogo Gide, insists that he would only free the students in exchange for five of his men arrested by security agents.

“He said he was not looking for money. His only demand is that government should release five of his men as a condition for the release of the students,” a source said, describing the condition as stringent considering its implication.

A source familiar with the ongoing talks said a process has been initiated to perfect the release after stormy discussions among security agencies on the modalities.

“It is a tough decision agreeing to accede to demands of criminals, but arguments were also made about the fate of the innocent students who could be wasted by the madmen,” the source said.

The kidnap kingpin, who was saddened by the capture of his lieutenants, initially abducted three people, including a Chinese man from a quarry in Niger State, to press for the release of his men.

“The company reached out and explained to him that they were not government workers, so they had to offer a ransom. But even after collecting ransom he released only two persons and withheld the Chinese man.

“However, it appears that he decided to release the last one as he was becoming infirm from long incarceration, though he (Gide) had threatened to kill him if no more money was paid,” the source said.

The source said it was after this that he decided to raid the school in Yauri, believing it was the best way to press for his demand on the government.

Since the abduction of students from Government Science School Kankara, bandits have increasingly targeted schools in troubled communities, leading to the closure of schools in Kaduna, Zamfara and Katsina states.

 

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