The 317 schoolgirls that were abducted by bandits in Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, Talata-Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State, on Friday may regain freedom today.
A credible source that spoke with Punch on Saturday disclosed that negotiations are ongoing with the bandits and it has reached a very advanced stage, saying “they may be in Gusau (Zamfara State capital) today.”
The source further stated that the abducted schoolgirls were kept in a forest between Dangulbi and Sabon Birnin Banaga in the Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
“As I am speaking to you now (Saturday), vehicles have been arranged for their evacuation to Gusau town, the state capital,” the source said.
The source, however, did not reveal if a ransom was paid to secure the release of the schoolgirls from their abductors.
According to the source, the number of the kidnapped students were 279 and not 317 as earlier reported by the media, though some of the girls were reported to have escaped from captivity.
A parent of one of the kidnapped schoolgirls, Garba Ibrahim, while speaking on the development, said, “we have been intimated by the authorities of this good news.”
Another parent, who pleaded anonymity, also said, “They told us that we should relax because our children have already been released by their captors.”
He noted that two of his daughters were among the abducted students.
Mohammed Gashi, the father of three of the kidnapped schoolgirls, while speaking said he had been intimated of the positive development.
He disclosed that he has four girls in the school, he noted that his fourth daughter was able to escape from the school premises during the abduction.
Gashi said he was in his house when he received the news that the bandits had agreed to release his daughters.
“You cannot imagine how happy I was when the news came to me that our children will be released soon.”
“I have been unable to sleep since the children were abducted because their mother died when she (the mother) was kidnapped two years ago,” he added.
However, the Zamfara Police Public Relations Officer, Mohammed Shehu, refused to confirm whether the girls would be freed or not.
“When tomorrow comes, we would know. For now, no further comment on the matter,” he said
In another related development, the kidnapped students and staff of the Government Science College in Kagara, Niger State have been released by their abductors.
It was gathered that the students and staff who have been in captivity for days were released on Saturday morning.