The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Tuesday disclosed that repentant bandits aided the release of the students of the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina.
The Presidential aide who noted that no ransom was paid, disclosed that the troops of the Nigerian Army encircled the Zamfara forest where the schoolboys were held during negotiation.
Recall that Kastina State Governor, Aminu Masari, claimed that the 344 schoolboys were released six days after their abduction in a forest in Zamfara State.
The Defence Headquarter had claimed responsibility for the release of the students abducted by bandits.
The position of the military and the presidency, however, contradicted Masari’s position that the release of the boys was facilitated by the leadership of Miyetti Allah/MACABAN.
Shehu while speaking on the development that led to the release of the schoolboys noted that the most important thing is that the boys have reunited with their parents.
He said, “In all of the things that played out, we must thank God for bringing these children out. Glory also belongs to the nation. I don’t see much conflict in all of these things.”
“The security services – Army, police, intelligence agencies – showed good judgement and capacity by promptly responding to the kidnap of those students and then locating exactly where they were being held.”
“Having done that, they quickly mobilised and surrounded the entire place to ensure that they do not go out and they do not come in. So, whatever followed after that is to reap from the gains of what has been done.”
“So, the military has identified where they were, in less than 24 hours after the kidnap, they patiently waited for the process of the negotiations to be concluded. And at the end of it, everyone is happy that it ended the way it did,” he stated.
On whether a ransom was paid to secure the release of the students, Shehu said, “All of the leading actors said no ransom was paid. The governor of Zamfara State, who had a policy of engagement with the bandits leading to the surrender and renouncement of bandits, used reformed bandits–repentant bandits–to gain access to those that were in the forest and they had them (schoolboys) released.”
“So, to the best of our knowledge, all the leading actors in Katsina and Zamfara States said no ransom was paid.”
Shehu also described as ridiculous claims that the Kankara schoolboys’ abduction was stage-managed.