Sixty four days after the abduction of 136 children from the Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School Tegina in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State, the state government has disclosed that it knows where the bandits and pupils are but it’s concerned about collateral damage.
It would be recalled that the government had on several occasions said it will not pay ransom to bandits or kidnappers.
However, Secretary to the Niger State Government, Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, has said that parents of the abducted children have begged the government severally not to apply its planned strategy as it could lead to some children being killed.
The New Telegraph had reported that the bandits have kept the students in 25 different locations pending when the balance of N4.6 million and five motorcycles would be paid.
It has also been reported that parents of the pupils and the school authority are struggling to raise about N3 million to buy the motorcycles demanded by the abductors, so as to secure the release of their wards.
According to Matane: “Although, the government wanted to use the special security corps it launched in mid-June this year to enter the forests and confront the bandits; but the parents of the kids begged that they would not like to lose any child.
“This type of operation as you know will end up in collateral damage. We know where those bandits are. We are monitoring their movements.”
He further disclosed that: “Even though the government is pained by the situation, it is the firm policy of the government not to pay ransom. But the parents came and begged us to.
We are assuring that the children will be brought back safely.”