Niger State government has said it knows the location of the abducted pupils of Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School, Tegina, but is taking time to evaluate ongoing negotiations with the bandits before resorting to kinetic actions.
This came on the heels of the declaration of the parents of the abducted pupils that they have resigned to fate and divine intervention for the rescue of their children.
The secretary to the state government (SSG) Ibrahim Ahmed Matane told LEADERSHIP yesterday tha,t “We know the location where they (pupils) are; we are very careful of any untoward situation; we do not want to hurt the children while resorting to military operations.”
He said the state government was looking at other options of negotiation devoid of payment of ransom before taking “kinetic action” (military operation).
The SSG said the government was looking at military operations as the last resort to rescue the pupils, adding that the Sani Bello administration was aware of the worries of the parents of the pupils for the delay that caused them to be with the abductors for over a month.
He said, “The parents of the pupils abducted were in touch with the bandits who were demanding money; the parents garnered what they have, but we made it clear that this government does not pay ransom.”
Matane said the recent visit of the governor to the parents and the action of the government to put joint security operation ready was an indication that it may take kinetic action to ensure the safe rescue of the children.
Asked on what type of negotiation channel the government has opened with the bandits, he said the government told the bandits to lay off arms and take lawful means of living and release the abductees without facing prosecution.
He said, “The parents were in dilemma of a ghost as parents, government share in their grief and they want government to take immediate action and again government is aware of the need to rescue the children safely, while time is of essence but we say no payment of ransom”
Asked of the conditions of the children since the government is aware of their location, Matane said, “From the information we get from the 14 people who escaped last week, we know the conditions of the children, abductees cannot be comfortable in captive, it is therefore very difficult to ascertain their condition now.”
For the parents of the children who spoke to the BBC Hausa Service yesterday, they have submitted to the will of God.
Some of them said though the government has assured them severally of the action they were taking to rescue the children, no serious progress has been made hence they resorted to prayers.
The headmaster of the school, Malam Alhassan Garba Abubakar, told BBC Hausa Service that the abductors were demanding N150 million that the parents could not afford, thus they resorted to prayers.
Meanwhile, LEADERSHIP has gathered that one of the abducted pupils has escaped from her abductors.
It was gathered that the escapee Zaynab Salle Boka who is 11 years old escaped through Pandogari town where she was seen by an Okada rider who took her to the village head of Allawa Mallam Umaru