The 27 students of Government Science College in Kagara, Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State that were kidnapped within the school premises by gunmen suspected to be armed bandits in the early hours of Wednesday, may have been released by their abductors late in the evening on Thursday to a foremost Islamic scholar based in Kaduna State, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi and others after much persuasion by the Islamic cleric.
We gathered that the secondary school students who had been held captive in the hideout of the bandits around Bangi forest in Mariga Local Government Area of the state for about 48 hours after their abductions from their dormitories within the school premises on the outskirts of Kagara township, headquarters of Rafi LGA, on Wednesday were said to have been taken to some undisclosed public health facilities for medical checkup in Minna, the state capital in order to ascertain their health status and treatment shortly after they were set free.
It was further learnt that the students gained their freedom after Sheikh Ahmad Gumi had met and dialogued with the leader of the bandits identified as Dogo Gide, in conjunction with some of his members after what seemed to be a long hours before the two parties could reach a truce.
It will, however, be recalled that the foremost Islamic scholar had visited the Niger State Governor Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello at the Government House in Minna, some few hours after the incident had occurred on Wednesday and held a closed-door meeting with the governor in his office, alongside members of his entourage.
Some close top government officials at the meeting informed us that the meeting was with the view to employing dialogue in resolving the incident with the leaders of the dreaded bandits and the need for him (Sheikh Gumi) to reach out to the bandits to release all the kidnapped students, their teachers and others unhurt.
Further checks revealed that after the meeting with Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, the Islamic scholar left the Government House with his entourage for the forest in Bangi, Mariga Local Government Area of the state and met with the leaders of the notorious kidnappers/bandits, led by one Dogo Gide.
Sources close to the meeting informed our correspondent on Friday in Minna that Sheikh Ahmed Gumi specifically said that the bandits should not commit grievous sins/offences, stressing that the Islamic adherents are presently in the month of Rajan.
The sources who craved for anonymity in a brief interview by telephone said the leader of the bandits gave some conditions to be met by the government before the kidnapped students could be set free, adding that they were prepared to release all the captives in their custody if the conditions were met.
It however noted that the said leader of the bandits, Dogo Gide, did not disclose the conditions.
But as of the time of filing this report on Friday, it could not be ascertained if the government has met with the conditions of the bandits while there has been no official confirmation by Niger State Government if the students have regained their freedom and where and where they were being kept or placed on admission for medical checkup and treatment.
Source: Nigerian Tribune
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