The factional leader of the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents, Abubakar Shekau, has claimed responsibility for the abduction of students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State.
Shekau, in an audio message first published by HumAngle stated that the action was carried out to ‘promote islam and discourage un-islamic practices’.
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“What happened in Katsina was done to promote Islam and discourage un-Islamic practices as Western education is not the type of education permitted by Allah and his Holy Prophet,” he said.
“They are also not teaching what Allah and his Holy Prophet commanded. They are rather destroying Islam. It may be subtle, but Allah the Lord of the skies and earths knows whatever is hidden. May Allah promote Islam. May we die as Muslims.”
“In a nutshell, we are behind what happened in Katsina,” he said.
There have been conflicting figures in respect of the actual number of students taken away but the State governor, Aminu Bello Masari had confirmed that his government was negotiating with the abductors.
It is, however, not clear if the discussion revolves around ransom or the abductors made a different demand.
Hundreds of children were shepherded into the bush by dozens of gun-wielding bandits who stormed their hostels at night on Friday.
After studying the school register, Daily Trust had exclusively reported on Monday that 668 students were still missing; while Governor Masari had told a federal government delegation that 333 students were missing
The Governor, in the company of his deputy, Manir Yakubu also visited visited President Buhari who was holidaying at his country home, Daura.
He was quoted by have told the President that steady progress was being recorded to bring back the abducted schoolboys unharmed.
Masari, who said security agencies had located the position of the children, added that the president was fully committed to the rescue of the school children.
Missing students kept in clusters
It was learnt that the students are being kept in clusters in the forests that stretch parts of Katsina, Zamfara and Kaduna states
Daily Trust reports that there have been conflicting narratives about the abduction of the schoolboys.
On Saturday, military authorities said they were engaging the bandits, while the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, said on Sunday that the students would be rescued within hours.
A source with knowledge of what is happening said the federal government was trying to avoid bloodshed, which would be inevitable when force is deployed.
First in North-West
If the latest audio by Shekau is anything to go by, the abduction of the schoolboys will be the first carried out by the Boko Haram insurgents in the North Western part of the country.
Most of the criminal acts in the zone were carried out by bandits. However, both authorities and experts have recently been warning of existence of BH in the region.
The dreaded insurgents had in the states of Yobe and Borno (North-East) Nigeria carried out a mass-scale abductions of secondary school students which sparked international outrage.
In April 2014, about 276 students of Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, who were preparing for their final exams were kidnapped by the insurgents.
The attack and abduction of the students sparked #BringBackOurGirls, an international campaign embraced by then U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama.
Four years after, On February 19, 2018 at 5:30 pm, 110 schoolgirls aged 11–19 years old were kidnapped by the Boko Haram terrorist group from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College (GGSTC) Dapchi, located in Bulabulin, Yunusari Local Government area of Yobe State, in the northeast part of the country.
Five schoolgirls reportedly died on the same day of their kidnapping while others were released in March 2018 except Leah Sharibu who was said to have been held by the abductors for refusing to renounce Christianity.