An 18-year-old student of Government Science School, Kankara in Katsina State, has narrated how he escaped from bandits who kidnapped hundreds of his colleagues last Friday.
Osama Aminu Maale said 520 students were abducted when the armed bandits stormed the school on Friday night.
“There were a total of 520 of us that were taken by the gunmen from the school,” he told AFP on the phone.
“After they took us away we stopped inside the bus where they made the older students take a headcount. We counted 520,” he said.
The hostages were split into groups before Maale and four others escaped.
“One of the gunmen hit me repeatedly when I failed to keep up with the rest of the group due to my failing health before he let me trail behind, giving me the chance to escape,” Maale added.
The Federal Government has said efforts were on to rescue students abducted by armed men who raided their hostels.
UN children’s agency UNICEF condemned the assault on the school in Katsina, the home state of the President Buhari.
State governor, Aminu Masari, who visited the school on Saturday, said soldiers were working to locate and free the hostages.
“Soldiers are currently in the bushes fighting the bandits. We will do all we can to ensure all the abducted children are reclaimed,” he said.
Masari said it was still not clear how many students were “in the hands of the bandits” and how many had managed to escape.
“The school has a population of 839 and so far, we are yet to account for 333 students,” Masari told a federal government delegation in his office on Sunday.
“We are still counting because more are still coming out of the forest,” said the governor.
“Up till this moment, no one can give a precise figure of the children abducted,” he stated, adding that students who escaped confirmed some of their peers were taken.
Since the attack, all secondary schools in the state have been shut. Residents of Kankara also protested the abduction of the students on Sunday, asking the authorities to ensure their speedy release.
Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari claims that only 10 students were abducted by bandits from Government Science Secondary School in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State.
However, BBC Hausa Service, in a bulletin on Sunday, quoted Garba Shehu as saying only ten school boys were abducted by the bandits.
“The Government of Nigeria has said its security forces have surrounded the location where gunmen have kept schoolchildren abducted from a secondary school in Katsina State.
“Spokesman for the President, Mallam Garba Shehu told the BBC only ten children were remaining in the hands of the gunmen according to their colleagues who escaped from the gunmen.
“The number is below figures released by school authorities at the beginning. Garba Shehu said the school children who escaped said 10 of their friends were still with their abductors,” the BBC Hausa bulletin reads.
A video has resurfaced online in which President Buhari checked his cows in his hometown, Daura, on Monday, showing defiance amidst calls for him to visit the school to assuaging distraught parents and relations.
A video obtained by Sahara Reporters showed the President visiting his cows in Daura on Monday, December 14.
Meanwhile, former Kaduna Senator, Shehu Sani has reacted to the conflicting number of students kidnapped by gunmen in Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Katsina state.
Reacting to this, Sani stated that in spite of the disagreement in the number of abducted students, it is still a tragedy resulting from failure to protect or prevent.
He tweeted “Whenever people are killed or kidnapped, the next comes disagreements in figures of the casualties or victims; even if its one, it’s still a tragedy resulting from failure of duty to protect or prevent; And that calls for empathy and action.”