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Government, SOKAPU differ on casualties in fresh Kaduna attack

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Luka Binniyat

Govt says nine, union insists on 15 • 15 Baptist pupils freed as Niger evacuates students from UNIJOS

Bodies of nine persons have been recovered from Ungwan Dooh (Mado) village of Zangon Kataf Local Council, Kaduna State, following an attack by unidentified persons, The Guardian learnt.

However, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) and the state government are not on the same page as to the fatalities recorded in the attack, as the union said 15 people were killed, while the government insisted on nine.

SOKAPU’s spokesman, Luka Binniyat, said 15 people were killed instead of the nine stated by the state government.
According to the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, apart from the fatalities, one person was injured in the attack.

Aruwan said the troops of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), who responded to distress calls and mobilised to the area, reported that the assailants fled on sighting the troops.

His words: “Nine bodies have been recovered so far following a search in the village. The deceased are identified as: Moses Dangana, Mary Dangana, Jummai Dangana, Jerry James, Happy James, Endurance Stephen, Comfort Emmanuel, Jummai Tanko and Mary Clement. One resident, Magdalene Dangoma, sustained gunshot injuries and is receiving treatment in a hospital. Two houses were razed in the attack.

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“The troops also rescued 12 persons, who were fleeing from the attackers. Those rescued are: Patrick Chindon, Joseph Agbon, Polymer Joseph, Amos Francis, Keziah Amos, Linda Jonathan, Asabe Jonathan, Jonathan James, Lamin Johanna, Titi Emmanuel, Patricia Michael and Jetral Bala.”

He added that the troops were still carrying out search and rescue operations, and would make public the exact number of casualties.

IN another development, after intense negotiation and payment of undisclosed amount as ransom, bandits have released 15 of the 80 pupils of Bethel Baptist Secondary, Kaduna State, still in captivity.

Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State chapter, Rev. Joseph Hayab, told The Guardian in a telephone chat yesterday that the 15 were released on Saturday night.

They were 121 in number when the kidnappers struck on July 5, 2021, according to the President of the Kaduna Baptist Conference, Rev. Ishaya Jangado.

But the abductors had released 28 on Sunday, July 25, after the payment of N50 million ransom. Hayab said yesterday: “Ransom was paid, but I will not go into specifics as to the amount that was paid. We are still negotiating on how the other students will be released. Yes, ransom was paid; but we are not in position to discuss or disclose the amount.”

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Lamenting the health condition of the freed students and the ones still in captivity, the cleric urged the Federal Government to intervene and ensure the freedom of the rest.

“You could imagine the health condition of the last four students that were released to us by the bandits, and compare it to the 15 of them that have just been released. The situation is precarious. That is why we are calling on government to intervene,” he said, appealing to parents of the remaining students to remain calm, while praying for their release.

MEANWHILE, Niger State Government has begun evacuation of its citizens studying at the University of Jos (UNIJOS), Plateau State, following violence in some parts of the state, which resulted in loss of lives and destruction of properties.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mrs. Mary Berje, stated, yesterday, that the state government’s action became necessary as the security situation in Plateau compelled UNIJOS to suspend its second semester examinations for 2019/2020 academic session.

Worried about the wellbeing of her citizens, the Nigeria government directed its Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, as well as that of Tertiary Education, Science and Technology to organise vehicles and security personnel to ensure safe evacuation and return of Niger citizens studying at UNIJOS.

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Luka BinniyatSOKAPU
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