Staff, students and others abducted by gunmen from Government Science College Kagara in Niger State were freed Saturday morning after officials agreed to release four members of the bandits’ gang, sources familiar with the process told Daily Trust on Sunday.
The armed gang had attacked the school located in Rafi Local Government on February 17 where they abducted 27 students, 3 teachers, two non-teaching staff and 9 family members of the staff.
After days of working to establish contact with the abductors and subsequent negotiations, the victims were released to a team of police and other security agents around 7am on Saturday.
The victims who were received by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello on Saturday recounted their harrowing experience in the hands of their abductors.
Daily Trust on Sunday gathered from reliable sources that the kidnappers, who operate between Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State, and Rafi Local Government in Niger State, had demanded the release of six members of their group arrested at different times by security agents.
Four of the six named persons, were identified in different detention facilities in Katsina, Kaduna and Niger states.
Niger state government told reporters yesterday no ransom was paid for the release of the affected persons. Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Muhammad Sani Idris, said there was no prisoner swap as strategies were deployed for the release of the students.
But a source told a Daily Trust on Sunday that two of the persons identified were released to the bandits before the students were set free.
“The process to perfect release of the other two was being concluded,” the source disclosed Saturday afternoon.
It was gathered that the bandits kept the victims deep in the forests, making it difficult to reach them with ease.
“One of the bandits used in reaching out to the group had to ride on motorcycle for nine hours to go and meet the Kachalla (leader) of the kidnappers. The Kachalla was persuaded to allow the victims to be set free even though not all the persons they wanted out from detention were released.
“Between the leader was and the location they hid the victims it was another long journey. It was therefore difficult even more for the abductees who had to trek for many hours to freedom,” the source said.