DHQ confirms rescue of 137 abducted Kaduna schoolchildren in Zamfara

CONTRARY to the reported abduction of 287 schoolchildren from the LEA Primary School and its neighbouring Secondary School in Kuriga, Chikun Local Government Area (LEA) of Kaduna State, the Defence Headquarters has given the number of abducted children as 137.

This was as the military confirmed that all the abductees, comprising 76 females and 61 males, within eight and 15 years, had been rescued.

In a statement by the Director of Defence Media Operations, Edward Buba, a major general, said that the children were rescued in Zamfara State in the early hours of Sunday through the joint efforts of the military and local authorities.

The ICIR earlier reported how the state government disclosed that the abducted school children had been rescued but failed to give details of their release and did not clarify whether security operatives rescued the children or if a ransom was paid for their release.

The government also failed to state the number of children rescued.

The rescue came 16 days after they were abducted by bandits, who invaded their school on Thursday, March 7.

One of the schoolteachers, Sani Abdullahi, had claimed that 287 students and a principal, Abubakar Isah, were whisked away from the schools.

He said about 187 students were abducted from the secondary school section and 125 pupils from the primary school section, totalling 312.

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Abdullahi, who escaped the abduction along with others, said 25 of the pupils from the primary section had returned, leaving the number of abducted at 287.



    The DHQ, however, said only 137 students were abducted. 

    “It would be recalled that on 7 March 2024, troops received information that terrorists had invaded LEA School Kuriga in Chikun LG of Kaduna State. During the incident, an unconfirmed number of pupils were abducted. Following the incident, the military committed to leaving no stone unturned until all the hostages were rescued,” the statement read.

    It added, “Accordingly, in the early hours of 24 March 2024, the military, working with local authorities and government agencies across the country, in a coordinated search and rescue operation, rescued the hostages. The hostages are the same persons who were abducted from the school at Kuriga in Chikun LGA of Kaduna State.

    “The rescued hostages totalled 137 and comprised 76 females and 61 males. They were rescued in Zamfara State and would be conveyed and handed over to the Kaduna State Government for further action.”

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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