By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
Controversy reigned Saturday as the security agencies seek to determine exact number of students allegedly abducted Friday night by gunmen in Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State.
The gunmen were said to have arrived Kankara some minutes pass 10pm on about 150 motorcycles and went straight to the school while some others blocked the road leading to the school from Kankara town apparently to prevent anyone going to render help.
“Those who blocked the road were earlier engaged by members of vigilante and within a short time, the police arrived with a reinforcement,” a resident of Kankara confirmed.
Spokesperson of the Katsina State Police Command, Superintendent of Police Gambo Isah, while confirming the incident couldn’t give the exact number of students taken away.
He also confirmed that no death was recorded, and told ARISE TV that many students escaped through the school fence, while policemen exchanged fire with the suspected bandits.
He said that 200 students had been found as of Saturday morning, adding that further search is ongoing to locate others.
Gambo said that one policeman shot is responding to treatment.
“The true situation is that yesterday, around 11:30pm, we heard a report that bandits in their numbers armed with their AK-47 rifles attacked Government School, Kankara and they were shooting sporadically,” he said.
“We have our men guarding the school, so there was an exchange of fire in a gun duel. That gave the students an opportunity to escape. Many of them scaled through the fence of the school. One of our inspectors sustained gun shot injury, reinforcement was drafted and the DPO led an armoured personnel carrier (APC) team.
“While we were exchanging fire with the bandits, they were retreating into the forest. This morning, the DPO called and said he has found over 200 of the students that escaped. Search parties are still rallying into the town and nearby farms in order to get the students that escaped from the school.
“We are still counting the numbers in order to know those that are missing. It’s too early to ascertain at this particular time whether these bandits were able to kidnap any of the students.
“Counting is still ongoing, because the students had the opportunity of scaling the fence for safety. Later on, we will be able to confirm if some students were kidnapped because they will call to demand ransom in their usual way.”
The incident reminiscence of the 2014 Kidnap of chibok school girls happened a few hours after President Muhammadu Buhari arrived the state for a weeklong “private” visit.
The school is said to have about 800 students.
It was gathered that troops of the Nigerian Army, engaged the gunmen in a gun battle though the Acting Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sagir Musa, directed The AUTHORITY to the police authorities for update on the situation.