Kankara Schoolboys’ Abduction: For Recruitment or Ransom?

On Friday 11th December, gunmen on motorcycles attacked the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State and abducted at least 300 students.

The actual number of students kidnapped in the attack has been a subject of controversy as different sources have claimed dissimilar figures. The Katsina state government says there are 333 missing students, but a boy who escaped from the clutches of the kidnappers said there were about 520 students altogether. Other sources have claimed higher or lesser figures.

On News Central’s Village Square Africa on Tuesday, Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor of the Pan-African Newswire and Kabir Adamu, a security expert gave their opinions and information about the current situation.

In the early hours of Tuesday, Abujbakar Shekau, leader of a faction of Boko Haram terrorists laid claim to the abduction of the students.

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Adamu said going by the details he was given by one of the boys who luckily escaped, those who carried out the kidnap were bandits.

Typical of a kidnap-for-ransom dare-devilry that has infiltrated into Nigeria’s northwestern region, the bandits asked for the students whose parents are rich. He said the bandits also asked for the whereabout of girls, indicating their ignorance of the nature of the school they attacked.

In another opinion, Azikiwe said the footprints of the attack has a semblance with Boko Haram’s, as seen in 2014 during the abduction of the Chibok girls.

Boko Haram terrorists look out for soft targets like residents of local communities, market dwellers and students. Adamu added that President Muhammadu Buhari has not lived up to his promise of quelling insecurity, and that has been a stain on his administration.

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Azikiwe added that the kidnap may be an attempt to recruit the boys into the ranks of Boko Haram as terrorists and charged the Nigerian government to ensure their safety.

Adamu further disclosed that the bandits are in the Rugu Forest area where they’re hiding. He said the federal government must stop any advancement being planned by the bandits as they’ll divide the students, and make military rescue operations even tougher .

He advised Buhari to show empathy, reassure the parents of the kidnapped students and hold someone responsible for the carelessness and laxity that led to the mass abduction of school boys.

The real intent for the attack is not clear yet, and the real attackers could still be in hiding. The Katsina State government has however claimed that a parent has been reached by bandits and they asked that their ransoms should be prepared, and warned the government against the surveillance of their area.

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