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Jubilation as 344 abducted students arrive Katsina

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Three hundred and fourty-four students abducted by gunmen last Friday night at Government Science Secondary School (GSSS), Kankara, Katsina State, returned on Friday morning amidst wild jubilation from government officials and family members.

Their sojourn in the wild forest of Zamfara state in the hands of their abductors, ended Thursday evening, after they were set free and allowed to trace their way back home.

Some of the government officials and parents, who spoke on the students’ return, expressed happiness over the development.

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The students, all 344 of them, arrived the Katsina Government House premises at exactly 9:25am, inside long government-owned buses, accompanied by stern-looking policemen.

Most of them looked unkept, emaciated, with many of them limping due to days of trekking bare-foot in thorn-infested forest grounds.

They clung to same-colour-type blankets, ostensibly given them by the Zamfara State Government, which had hosted them most Thursday night, and early Friday morning.

Brig.-Gen. WB Idris, Commandant, 17th Brigade, Nigerian Army, who led the security rescue mission, ushered them before Governor Aminu Masari.

Idris said the students were camped in Zamfara, before being moved to Katsina Friday morning.

Speaking after receiving the students, Masari said the state and country as a whole, was one body, and when one part suffers, other part also goes through same.

He, however, called on Nigerians to ensure they play their part in government’s efforts to end insecurity and related challenges in the country.

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“The entire state or country is one body. If any part of the body is sick, the whole body is sick,” Masari said.

“Security should not be left to governnent and security agencies alone. What happened in Kankara affected many in all parts of the state.

“This is because, there is no local government area that does not have a family or relation, whose son was abducted in the school.

“Even if you cannot do anything, you can pray for the state and country so that the security situation would come to an end, and for us all to have lasting peace.

“For the students, this is part of your history and part of your journey through life. I’m sure this’ll permanently be embedded in your minds. Some of the things that took place you’ll only remember them later in life.”

Masari said the students would be taken to a secured facility, where they would have their bathe and change of clothing, then taken to see doctors for medical attention.

He added that names of all the students would be documented, while parents, guardians and school management, would be involved in identifying the students, before being reunited with their loved ones.

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Gunmen in their numbers has stormed the GSSS Kankara, on December 11, where they shot a policeman and abducted more than 300 students.

Some of the students that escaped narrated harrowing experiences, including being treated like animals and made to trek for several hours without food, everyday.

The militant group, Boko Haram, had released an audio, claiming responsibility for the abduction they followed with a video clip showing some of the students who were begging to be set free.

Masari, in an interview, said no ransom was paid before the students were set free, even as he added that security would be improved in schools across the state.


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