Gunmen have killed two more abducted students of Greenfield University in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, bringing the death toll to five.
The killings in Kaduna state by criminals known locally as “bandits” mark an escalation in the mass kidnappings of students that plague northwest and central Nigeria.
“Security agencies have just reported to the Kaduna State Government the recovery of two more dead bodies of Greenfield University students, killed by armed bandits,” Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, announced Monday, April 26.
Aruwan stated that two more bodies of the abducted students were recovered by security agencies and have been evacuated to a mortuary, while the university has been notified of the development.
Gunmen attacked the private Greenfield University last Tuesday in what was the fifth known attack on a school or college since December.
A member of the school staff was killed during the assault and the bodies of three students were later discovered in a nearby village.
Two university staff told AFP news agency that 20 students along with three non-academic staff had been kidnapped but state officials could not confirm those numbers, saying only that “an unspecified number” were taken.
A university spokesman did not immediately respond to calls and messages seeking comment.
President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the killings on Saturday in a statement.
“Banditry, kidnapping and the politics of murders will be fought with all the resources available to our country,” Buhari said, describing the recurring incidents of kidnappings and killings as “barbaric terror attacks.”
Kidnappers have ramped up attacks in recent months hoping to squeeze officials for ransom payments. But local authorities have vowed not to pay them.
“We will not give them any money and they will not make any profit from Kaduna,” Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai told local media earlier this month.
Hours before the government confirmed the recovery of the two more bodies, Governor El-Rufai sent a delegation to the families of the three students whose bodies were earlier recovered.
The delegation led by the Commissioner of Education in Kaduna, Shehu Mohammed, visited the parents of the students in Jaji, Barnawa, and Sabon Tasha areas in Igabi and Chikun Local Government Areas.
While sympathising with them, Mohammed hinted that the government has commenced the process of beefing up security around schools in the state and relocation of students from schools located in vulnerable areas to safer places.
He, however, reiterated the government’s position not to negotiate with bandits, even in the face of the present situation.
ALJAZEERA reported that schools targeted in Nigeria are usually in remote areas where students stay in dormitories with only watchmen for security, making them easier targets.
Since December 2020, more than 730 students have been abducted, disrupting the studies of more than five million children, UN agency UNICEF said.