BANDITS kidnapped schoolgirls in Jangede Federal High School, Zamfara State, because the government sent soldiers after them.
A repentant bandit, Abu Sanni, disclosed this in a BBC documentary titled ‘The Bandit warlords of Zamfara’. The documentary was aired on Monday July 25, 2022.
The documentary which was authored by Yusuf Anka shed light on the activities of bandits in Zamfara State.
According to a report by TheCable Index, Zamfara topped the list of reported killings in 2021, with about 703 persons reported dead as a result of insecurity.
Abu Sanni, who benefitted from amnesty, said bandits and the government benefit from the high level of insecurity in the state.
According to him, the bandits demanded N300 million from the government for the release of the schoolgirls but N60 million was paid.
“When the rainy season ended, they sent the military after us. We decided to show the government they should not interfere in our problems. We went to Jangebe and took the students. We wanted to get the government angry,” he said.
“We demanded N300 million but after negotiations, N60 million was paid for their release.
“Because it has become a business, everyone wants money. That is why things are deteriorating, from the top to the bottom.
“They say when there is insecurity, the government gets money. Everyone is benefitting. We also get money. Though for our money, blood is split, so it continues.”
However, according to the BBC documentary, the victims said the gunmen abducted close to 300 girls in the attack on the government-run school in early 2021.
The bandits invaded the school when students had gone to bed after night prayers.
A survivor told the BBC: “The night we were abducted, we were sleeping after our night prayer. We also took time to read. After we went to sleep, we heard gun shots. They entered and found us with search lights and asked us all to come out.”
She added that they were assembled in a hostel before the bandits pushed them out of the school towards the forest while shooting in the air.
Another victim who escaped the abduction said only 32 students escaped from the hands of the gunmen on the day of the attack.
“When they left, we heard our teachers calling for those not abducted to come out of their hiding place. Then the soldiers arrived. They asked about our fellow students. We said they had been abducted. We were about 350 students in the school but only 32 of us escaped.
“We were sleeping when the bandits invaded our school. We heard gun shots, people crying for help. We ran and locked ourselves in the toilets, about five of us,” she said.
The room leader of one of the school hostels also said the bandits threatened to kill them if they refuse to come out of hiding.
“I was the room leader and all the girls were calling me. Honestly, I was afraid. A man told us to open the door. Some of us hid under the beds. He said we must come out or he will shoot. So they all came out.
“I heard a man’s voice shouting, come out! Or I will kill you! We came out, knelt, thinking it was our teachers. They said they were not our teachers and we must come out. We went through the gate, onto a strange path and we continued. I was thinking they’d kill us.”