• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Kaduna: Bandits demand ₦1bn ransom, threaten execution of hostages after 20 days

Bandits

Bandits holding 287 school children captive in Kaduna have issued a chilling ultimatum, threatening to execute their hostages if a ₦1 billion ransom is not paid within 20 days.

This drastic action has heightened fears for the safety of the abducted students and plunged families and the community into despair.

The abduction, which occurred on March 7, 2024, involved a brazen attack on the school premises, leaving one student injured. Over 200 students, including secondary school pupils who were corralled onto the primary school grounds, were taken hostage. Since then, the situation has grown increasingly perilous with the bandits escalating their demands.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent stance against yielding to ransom demands from criminal groups, including bandits, underscores the gravity of the situation. Following a meeting of the Federal Executive Council, Information Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed reiterated the government’s firm opposition to ransom payments. He emphasized the crucial need to secure the safe return of the children without succumbing to extortion.

The bandits, communicating through a representative of the families of the abducted, have demanded a staggering ₦1 billion ($620,432) for the release of the captives. They have issued a stark warning, threatening executions if their demands are not met within the designated 20-day window, throwing families and authorities into a desperate race against time.

Jubril Aminu, acting as a spokesperson for the families, disclosed the grave threat posed by the kidnappers. “They [the kidnappers] demanded a total ransom of ₦1 billion for all the pupils, students, and staff of the school. They gave a 20-day ultimatum, threatening to kill all the students and staff if their ransom demand is not met,” Aminu said. This blatant disregard for human life underscores the brutality of the perpetrators and the urgency of the situation.

Confirming the ransom demand and the impending threat of violence, Idris Ibrahim, an elected official from Kuriga Ward municipal council, acknowledged the critical nature of the situation. “Yes, the kidnappers contacted the community through Jubril Aminu, conveying their demands,” Ibrahim confirmed. He highlighted ongoing efforts to trace the source of the communication and address the looming danger.

As security forces intensify operations to secure the safe release of the abducted students, the threat of imminent harm hangs heavy. Urgent and decisive action is required to thwart the bandits’ ruthless agenda and ensure the safe return of the children to their families.