In a series of releases after receiving ransoms, bandits have again freed 10 of the abducted students of Bethel Baptist High School, Damishi-Kaduna in Nigeria’s north west, leaving 21 still in captivity, just as the military rescued its abducted Major.
On July 5, 2021 the bandits invaded the school, located some few kilometres away from Kaduna metropolis, and abducted 121 students and demanded $400,000 (N200 million) ransom.
Many of the students have been released at different times since then until Saturday when 10 were freed, leaving 21 in the den of the hoodlums.
Parents have paid various sums as ransom to secure the release of the students.
Out of the 121 students forcefully taken away from their hostels when the school came under attack by the assailants, 28 of them were released on July 25 after a ransom was paid.
Thereafter, 15 additional students gained freedom from the captivity of their abductors on August 22.
100 freed so far
More students were later freed, and the latest release on Saturday brings the total number of learners who have been freed so far to 100.
The Kaduna State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Joseph Hayab, on Saturday confirmed the latest release of some of the students.
Rev Hayab said the students have been reunited with their parents.
He also said that an undisclosed sum of money was paid before their release, while the remaining students still in captivity are now 21.
Police authorities in Kaduna have yet to make any comment on the release of the students but a senior official of the school said the students were released after an undisclosed amount of money was paid to the bandits.
Taken to hospital
He explained that following their release, the students were reunited with their parents and taken to hospital for treatment.
Kidnaping for ransom spiked recently in North West Nigeria, with school children being the main targets of bandits.
The Nigerian Army on Saturday reported its officer, Major CL Datong, who was kidnapped when bandits attacked the Nigerian Defence Academy on August 24, 2021 had been rescued in a rare operation.
Col Ezindu Idimah, the deputy director of Army Public Relations at 1st Division of the Nigerian army in Kaduna, said the division in conjunction with the Air Task Force and other security agencies jointly conducted sustained operations in the Afaka general area to rescue Major Datong.
“The operations were being conducted based on several leads received from various sources regarding the abductors and likely locations the officer was being held,” he said.
Col Idima added that the operations which were sustained since the kidnap of the officer proved quite successful and led to the destruction of several identified bandit camps in Afaka-Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State and neutralisation of scores of bandits, particularly in the late hours of September 17, 2021.
“The troops arrived at a camp suspected to be the location where Maj CL Datong was being held. At the camp, they exchanged fire with the bandits and overwhelmed them. In the process, the gallant troops were able to rescue the abducted officer,” he said.