Police authorities have commenced operations to secure the release of the 73 abducted students of the Kaya Day Secondary School in Zamfara State.
Police Public Relations Officer in the state, SP Mohammed Shehu, disclosed this in a statement issued on Wednesday.
He said the Commissioner of Police, Ayuba Elkanah, is working closely with other security agencies to ensure the safe return of the students.
“The Zamfara State Police Command wishes to confirm the abduction of 73 Students of Government Day Secondary school, Kaya in Maradun LGA. The abduction followed the invasion of the school by a large number of armed bandits that occurred today at exactly 1122hrs,” the statement partly read.
“The Command under the leadership of CP Ayuba Elkanah has deployed search and rescue team that was mandated to work in synergy with the military to ensure the safe rescue of the abducted students.”
The police spokesman asked the families of the victims to exercise patience and continue to pray for the success of the ongoing rescue operation, adding that security has also been beefed up at Kaya Village and environ to forestall a further attack on the communities.
This is coming few hours after gunmen stormed the school in Maradun Local Government Area of the state on Wednesday morning and whisked the schoolchildren away.
The development forced the state governor, Bello Matawalle to order the immediate closure of all primary and secondary schools pending when the security situation improves in the state.
Zamfara, just like other states in the northwest and north-central have been facing serious security challenges by bandits – believed to hole up in Rugu forest, which straddles Katsina, Kaduna, Zamfara and Niger states – to increasingly attacking schools, seizing students to extort ransom from parents.
Kidnappings are just one of the challenges facing Nigeria’s security forces, who are battling a grinding Islamist insurgency in the northeast and separatist tensions in parts of the south.
According to the UN, some 950 students have been kidnapped across Nigeria since December.
While most of the hostages have been released after negotiations, some are still being held.