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…kidnappers vow to make Kaduna unsafe, say they also want to go to school, work for government

After spending 57 days in the hands of their abductors and one day in hospital following their release, the remaining 27 students kidnapped from the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Kaduna were on Friday reunited with their families. It was a joyous occasion for the students, their families, the school management and other well – wishers who stormed the school premises to witness the reunion. 39 students were kidnapped from their school about 58 days ago while of them 10 were earlier released, two were said to have escaped and the remaining 27 were released on Wednesday. Recounting their experience after reuniting with their families, one of the students, Sarah Sunday, said: “Our living condition there in the forest was very bad. We never had our bath.

Rain use to beat us, even though there was a hut that we always run to, yet rain would still beat us inside the poorly built hut. But we have forgiven our kidnappers. And we pray that God will give them another chance to change for the better.’’ She further revealed that: “A lot of things happened while we were there. We passed through hunger, we were subjected to trekking and all sort of dehumanising things. We were insulted, but fortunately, they did not molest any of us and they did not kill any of us. They only beat us on the first day when they did a video of us.”

On how the bandits were able to feed all of them, she said: “The boys were the ones that use to go and fetch water for us to cook with. We normally cook Tuwo (corn flour) with miyan kuka, (Hausa traditional soup) and Tuwo with dry okro. We only cooked rice once, and we cooked spaghetti once too.” Asked whether their abductors used to leave them and go out during their stay, she said: “Yes, they used to go out, but they always leave some of their armed gang members to keep guard over us. “Even our male colleagues that used to go and fetch water, there are those that escort them to the stream with AK47 rifles.”

Pamela Ibrahim, another student, said the bandits told them that they were disappointed with the way government has treated them. According to her, the kidnappers told them that: “We also want to go to school, work for government in the civil service, but we never had the opportunity.” She also said that their abductors disclosed that they were kidnapped to settle scores with the government, saying that they were neglected by those in power. “It was not funny there in the bush, it was hell. They don’t feed us, they don’t give us anything to drink. But we thank God for finally hearing our prayers and making them to free us,’’ she recounted.

She further said that: “Before they released us, the kidnappers told us that they don’t have anything against us, that they kidnapped us because they need government to settle with them, that they also want to be educated like other Nigerians, they need work, and they need houses. “They said if the government didn’t settle with them, they would not stop, they would continue to make sure that Kaduna State is not safe.

They were very serious when they said that and it made us believe that they meant it. Some of them are Nigerians while some are foreigners. They speak mainly Fulani and Hausa. “There was an old man among them and anytime he was with us he stopped them from harassing us or treating us in a bad way, but once he was not around, they beat us and insult us.” she lamented.




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