Abducted pupils taken away on motorcycles, says military

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Abductors of pupils of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, took the boys away on motorcycles, the military said Monday night.

The assailants came to the school premises on Friday night, shot dead one of the two policemen on guard, incapacitated the other and entered the facility. They shoot sporadically into the air. The pupils were already sleeping, Coordinator of Media Defence Operations Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, recalled during his appearance on a Channels television programme, monitored in Lagos.

He said one of the 333 pupils declared missing by Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari, had returned

Gen. Enenche said: “They were moved on the motorcycles they (gunmen) brought and after a short distance, some of them continued with their motorcycles, others dismounted. As they dismounted, one of the boys escaped. Others had to trek long distances. Of course, that is their usual characteristics. It is the same system; the same approach they used. There was no evidence, no information about them using other modes of transport.”

According to him the gunmen arrived at the school about 10:45pm.

It was unclear how many motorcycles were used by the abductors to move hundreds of pupils.

Gen Enenche said: “They stormed the school on their motorcycle around 10:45pm; there were two policemen at the beat; one was shot dead, then the other one was injured.

“They went to the dormitories and staff quarters, shooting sporadically into the air. Their aim was to abduct the pupils and other people. We got the information and got there about 11:30pm.”

The soldiers, he said, would have stopped the gunmen from taking the pupils away but the abductors used the pupils as human shield.

“They were using the pupils as human shield and we do not want casualties among the pupils. The main issue is that none of the pupils was killed in the process,” the Defence spokesman said.

He confirmed that 333 pupils were missing as at 2pm on Sunday.

“The principal reported that he had 839 in the boarding house as at the time they were abducted, shortly after that, some came back and it was about five hundred plus that did not return. As at 2pm yesterday (Sunday), the pupils that could not be accounted for reduced to 333. As I speak with you, the figure we have is 333 out of which one escaped as at this afternoon (yesterday)… there is hope and the hope is being placed on the fact that we need them out alive,” he said.

He admitted that he got information about the gunmen reaching out to the government through the media and other sources.

The gunmen, Maj-Gen Enenche said, beat the intelligence behind the Save Schools Initiative put in place to secure pupils in schools.

The programme was initiated after the Chibok school abduction in 2014. The abductors have now opened talks with the Katsina State government after claiming responsibility for the kidnap.

They have made a ransom demand in addition to requesting that the military stop its aerial surveillance.

Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari with his deputy Manir Yakubu, briefed President Muhammadu Buhari at his Daura home on the latest development.

He hosted the minister of Defence and service chiefs on Sunday. “We are making progress and the outlook is positive,’’ the governor told reporters after an hour-long meeting with the President. The meeting began at 2 pm.

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