Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu says repentant bandits played a role in securing the release of over 300 schoolboys abducted from Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina.
Recall that on December 11, gunmen on motorcycles attacked the school and abducted the students a few hours after President Buhari, arrived in the state for a week-long private visit. While the military claim they secured the release of the boys, some other government officials have alleged that it was Miyetti Allah that helped in securing the release of the students.
Speaking as a guest on Channels TV on Tuesday morning December 22, Shehu said the conflicting accounts surrounding the release of the schoolboys are inconsequential and that what matters now is that the boys have been reunited with their parents. He also dismissed reports that ransom was paid for their release.
“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.”
Speaking further, 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.”