One of the students taken away by gunmen suspected to be bandits from the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State, Osama Aminu Maale, an 18-year-old, has revealed that 520 students of the school were abducted by the bandits last Friday.
Maale revealed this while narrating how he escaped from his captors to newsmen of Sunday.
“There were a total of 520 of us that were taken by the gunmen from the school.
“After they took us away we stopped inside the bus where they made the older students take a headcount. We counted 520,” he said.
According to Maale, the hostages were split into groups before he and four others escaped.
“One of the gunmen hit me repeatedly when I failed to keep up with the rest of the group due to my failing health before he let me trail behind, giving me the chance to escape,” Maale added.
Ripples Nigeria had reported that the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari had told a Federal Government delegation on Sunday that 333 students of the school are yet to be accounted for.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, however countered the figure given by Governor Masari, insisting in a statement also on Sunday that only nine students were abducted.
Assuring that the soldiers were working to locate and free the hostages, Masari said: “Soldiers are currently in the bushes fighting the bandits. We will do all we can to ensure all the abducted children are reclaimed,” he said.
Speaking further, Masari said that it was still not clear how many students were in the hands of the bandits and how many had managed to escape.
“The school has a population of 839 and so far, we are yet to account for 333 students.
“We are still counting because more are still coming out of the forest.
“Up till this moment, no one can give a precise figure of the children abducted,” he stated, adding that students who escaped confirmed some of their peers were taken.