Confusion trails release of Zamfara schoolgirls

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Claims and counterclaims have trailed the fate of the abducted students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, Zamfara State.

While one source said they had been released and were in the palace of the Emir of Anka waiting for transportation to Gusau, the state capital, earlier in the day, another later dismissed the news as false.

Over 300 girls were kidnapped in a raid on Friday by gunmen who reportedly disguised as security personnel.

A source said the girls were kept in the forest between Dangulbi and Sabon Birnin Banaga in the Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

Deal of the day

The state government which had earlier expressed optimism that the girls would return soon, however, refused to either confirm or deny rumours that it reached a truce with the abductors concerning their release, yesterday.

Infact, Commissioner of Information and Culture, Suleiman Tunau Anka, tweeted: “I want to call the attention of good people of Zamfara State, they should disregard any fake news regarding the release of abducted students of GGSS Jangebe by one national daily, it’s not true. But Alhamdulillah, the state government and securities are trying their best.”

As confusion raged, anxious families of the schoolgirls gathered at the school, guarded by police.

Aliyu Ladan Jangebe said his five daughters aged between 12 and 16 were at the school when the kidnappers stormed in. Four were taken away, but one escaped by hiding in a bathroom with three other girls, he told The Associated Press (AP).

“We are not in (a) good mood because when you have five children and you are able to secure (just) one. We only thank God … But we are not happy. We cannot imagine their situation,” he said of his missing daughters.

However, Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle has assured that the students would soon be rescued.

He gave the assurance when he received a Federal Government delegation led by Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika. Also in the delegation were ministers of Police Affairs, Alhaji Maigari Dingyadi, Women Affairs, Madam Pauline Tallen and Humanitarian Affairs, Hajia Sadiya Umar Faruq.

The governor said the state government was working with repentant bandits to ensure safe rescue of the female students.

“We are using those who have subscribed to our peace accord and let the president be aware that this children In Sha Allah, will be rescued soon. We hope that by the time you land in Abuja, you will be called upon to come and witness the release of the children.”

Matawalle urged the Federal Government to deploy more security personal in view of the vast land mass of the state. He also called for synergy between the armed forces in the fight against banditry, insurgency and other crimes.