• Monday, April 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Kaduna school children released after 16-day ordeal in kidnappers den

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More than 130 of the abducted school children from Kuriga, Kaduna State, have been released, marking the end of a traumatic two-week saga that gripped the nation.

The incident, characterized as one of Nigeria’s most significant mass kidnappings in recent memory, ignited a wave of outrage and condemnation from various quarters, including the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The ordeal began when armed gunmen, riding motorcycles, descended upon the school premises, swiftly and mercilessly snatching away the innocent students, the majority of whom were between the ages of 8 and 15.

While official figures for the Kuriga mass kidnapping were not immediately provided, Sani Abdullahi, a teacher at the school, disclosed that 187 students from the secondary school and 125 pupils from the primary school were among those abducted.

However, amidst the chaos, a glimmer of hope emerged as 25 primary school pupils managed to escape and reunite with their families.

The attack sent shockwaves through the community and served as a stark reminder of the persistent threat posed by banditry in the region.

Uba Sani, Governor of Kaduna State declared the release of the abducted schoolchildren in an early Sunday statement, expressing gratitude to President Bola Tinubu, government officials, and security agencies for their unwavering commitment to securing the students’ freedom.

Sani, while speaking newsmen recounted the tireless efforts undertaken, including multiple conversations with President Tinubu, who stood in solidarity with the state leadership throughout the ordeal.

The Kuriga abduction evoked chilling memories of past tragedies, such as the infamous Chibok abduction of April 2014, which left scars on the nation’s psyche.

Despite the gravity of the situation, President Tinubu and military authorities remained steadfast in their assurance that the victims would be rescued, unequivocally rejecting any notion of giving in to ransom demands.

In a demonstration of resolve, President Tinubu issued directives to deploy troops and leverage all available resources to ensure the safe return of the abducted students.

He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to this mission, emphasizing the round-the-clock efforts of the Kaduna State Government and security agencies to secure the children’s safe return.

The Kuriga abduction unfolded against the backdrop of heightened insecurity in the region, with reports emerging of similar incidents, including the recent seizure of individuals from an internally displaced people (IDP) camp in Borno State by suspected terrorists.

As the community celebrates the return of the Kuriga schoolchildren, the incident serves as a reminder of the challenges posed by insecurity and the imperative to safeguard the nation’s youth from harm.