Some survivors of the Federal University, Gusau, Zamfara abduction and their families have shared their ordeal in the hands of bandits.
Naija News recalls that armed bandits in the early hours of September 21 invaded the university.
The bandits abducted an unspecified number of female students and others.
Even though some of them have been rescued, many others are still with their abductors.
Musa Yusuf, whose house was first attacked by the bandits, said they dragged his son and granddaughter outside the house.
He said, “The bandits were heavily armed with guns and local weapons. They attacked Sabon-Gida village and started firing gunshots sporadically. The persistent gunshots woke me up from sleep.
“Some of the bandits gained access to my house after scaling the fence. One of the bandits then opened the door for the rest to come in. One of them asked whether I was one of the local guards of the hostel that is opposite my house and I said I was not.
“They demanded my mobile phone and money and when I told them I did not have, they proceeded to my wives’ bedrooms and asked them the same question. They collected money from my wives before they moved to my son’s apartment and asked for a phone and money. They did not get anything from him but they collected his wife’s phone. They dragged my son and granddaughter outside.”
He said they also asked him to provide them with an axe with which to break the door of the hostel that was opposite his house.
Yusuf further stated, “But when I said I don’t have, they picked a heavy stick that was kept behind a door and went outside. They used the stick to break the door of the hostel and abducted all the students that were inside except the three that hid themselves inside the ceiling.”
He revealed that the bandits continued firing several shots into the air throughout the operation which lasted for several hours, adding that contrary to speculations, the bandits did not come on motorcycles.
Yusuf added, “They came on foot and abducted many people in the four hostels, my house and the residence of the protocol officer of the university. In my house, the bandits abducted my son, Safiyanu, and granddaughter. At the first hostel, they kidnapped all the students except the three who hid themselves inside the ceiling. All the students in the second and third hostels were kidnapped by the bandits, while at the fourth hostel, they kidnapped only five students.
“Approximately, I can say, the bandits have gone with more than 50 people comprising the female students, the protocol officer of the university, his sister, eight local iron-benders working inside the university and one other person.”
He said after the attackers brought together all the abducted people in one place, they then divided themselves.
One group went with the abducted persons, while the other remained behind firing gunshots.
He said, “Those that were left behind sustained the gunshots for some minutes before they left. It took us hours to get back to our senses even though the gunshots had stopped and the bandits left.
“Honestly, we were terrified during the attack but as God destined it we are still alive. My hope now is to see my son and granddaughter again. I will continue praying for their successful return.”
Some of the students at Dan Lawal Hostel, who spoke to Daily Trust on condition of anonymity, lamented the vulnerability of the institution.
One of the students said, “As you can see the university is not fenced. So, the bandits can gain access from any angle. Again, the private hostels are prone to attack. The government and the university authority should provide us with adequate security.
“We are more than 100 in this private hostel and we only have two local security guards. Police and soldiers are not coming here to provide security around the hostels. Sincerely speaking we want adequate security around us.”
Another student of Basic Chemistry said, “We need adequate security. This recent attack on our colleagues has touched our hearts and seriously demoralised us. We have received a series of calls from our parents and friends asking us to abandon our studies and return home.
“But as Muslims, we all believe in destiny be it good or bad, so, we decided to stay behind and continue with our studies. But, we want the school authority to do the needful in ensuring our safety because, without it, nothing could be achieved.
“We know the university authority is doing its best, but we want more from it, especially on security. This is a university where we are studying, so, if adequate security is not provided, academic activities cannot hold because parents and the students cannot endure this kind of traumatic situation if it continues.”
The leader of one of the hostels, who also craved anonymity, said the gunshots around the hostels started from 11 pm to 12 am and then stopped and later continued around 3 am.
He explained that they heard about the abduction of their female colleagues in the morning, adding, “Although the management of the school did not release official figures, however, we have heard that 24 female students fell victim to the kidnapping operation. Eight students were said to have been rescued.
“We want authority to come to our aid by providing us with adequate security around our hostels. We know our vice chancellor is doing his best, but the management of the institution should fence the perimeter of the school for security purposes.”