There is uncertainty over the real identity of the gunmen who kidnapped staff and students from Government Science College in Kagara, Niger State, as government officials continue back door engagements to secure release of the abductees.
Gunmen in military uniform stormed the porous school in the early hours of Wednesday and went away with 42 staff and students. One student who attempted to escape was shot dead by the attackers.
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Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, on Friday said negotiations were at the final stage to secure release of the victims.
But Daily Trust Saturday gathered that the atmosphere was still unclear as some prominent leaders of Fulani bandits thought to be behind the kidnap have distanced themselves from it.
“The first point of suspicion was that the raid was carried out by some of the Fulani boys operating around the area, but by now we are able to establish that the raid was probably not carried out by our (Fulani) boys,” one source involved in the search and rescue efforts told Daily Trust Saturday last night.
He said key Fulani gang leaders operating around Kaduna and Niger states were contacted but all confessed that they were not part of the abduction.
“Fingers are now pointing towards members of Darus Salam, the insurgents who were co-habiting with some Fulani around the Birnin Gwari and Kumaku forests,” the source added.
Daily Trust Saturday gathered that within the large swathes of forests traversing Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger states, many warlords and gang leaders operate in different sections including two camps of jihadists; the Ansaru group operating between Birnin Gwari and Giwa Local Government, and the Darul Salam operating in the forests between Niger and Kaduna states.
A leader of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) contacted by Daily Trust said his association was not contacted by the government on the Kagara abduction.
“During the Kankara abduction we were contacted and some of our leaders played important roles leading to the release of the boys, but to our chagrin, nobody contacted us again on how we can advance that step for more lasting solutions,” the source who craved for anonymity told our reporter.
He also doubted that the Fulani bandits were behind the Kagara abduction.