Kagara students may be set free today, Gumi says

Herdsmen took up arms to defend themselves against brutality – Gumi
The Islamic cleric known to have some influence on bandits, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, has said that the abducted Kagara Government Science College students and their teachers may be set free today Sunday.

Nigerian government, which often suffers embarrassment from terrorists and bandits, who abduct school children for ‘ransom’, has been making efforts alongside the Niger State government to rescue the 27 students and 15 staff members of GSC Kagara, who bandits in military camouflage kidnapped around 2am on Wednesday.

Gumi, who is among those negotiating with the bandits to free the children, told The Punch on Saturday:

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“What I hear from (our contact) is that they are still negotiating to release them (schoolchildren and staff members) and hopefully, hopefully, we will get them tomorrow (Sunday), hopefully.

“Up till now, they have not been able to identify the boys, who (did the kidnapping). You know they are splinter groups. So, when you are dealing with groups like that in a vast area, with no communication, no road, then it has to be slow. But the main actors are ready to negotiate and stop the kidnapping altogether.”

When asked if ransom was part of the negotiation, Gumi said, “No – no, it does not. If it involves money, it means the same criminality. They are saying these are our conditions and we will stop this thing. So, negotiation is ongoing and their demands are being looked into, which are very simple.”

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The cleric said that the bandits are mainly asking the state to release their comrades in the custody of security agencies.

“They have just four people in detention and they are asking for them. They also need assurance and that is why we are calling for amnesty for them. They have been fighting for a long time; it’s been more than eight years.

“These people are fighting for their existence because when they go to town they are lynched, when the police see them on the road, they arrest them; sometimes they are executed extrajudicially, so they took arms against the state. When you give them amnesty, all of them will drop their weapons,” Gumi told the newspaper.

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