Details have emerged on how gunmen in the early hours of yesterday stormed a school in the outskirts of Kaduna and abducted six female students aged between 16 and 18 years, their matron and a teacher. The abductors reportedly stormed the Engravers College, a boarding school for boys and girls and whisked away their six victims.
The school is located about 20 minutes’ drive from the Eastern Bypass of Kaduna city.
Speaking on the incident yesterday, officials and witnesses told Daily Trust that the abductors stormed the school, which is located along Kaduna-Abuja road, around 12am when most of the students and teachers were asleep. Falls & ups 00:00 Previous PlayNext 00:16 / 06:05 Unmute Fullscreen Copy video url Play / Pause Mute / Unmute Report a problem Language Mox Player Armed men had in the last few years perpetrated countless abductions along the Kaduna-Abuja highway for ransom, and in the process killed some of their victims. But this is the first time such incident occurred in a school. In a statement yesterday, spokesman of the police in Kaduna Yakubu Sabo said they dispatched their men immediately they heard of the abduction with a view to rescuing the victims. “The police anti-kidnapping unit, the special anti-robbery squad and conventional police have all been mobilised to the area for possible rescue of the victims and arrest of the perpetrators. “Intelligent Response Team (IRT) has been contacted for technical support,” the PPRO said. Sabo also called on private school authorities to ensure prompt report of suspicious persons around their premises to forestall occurrence of such ugly incidents. On its part, the Kaduna State Government said it shared the agony of the families of the abducted girls and teachers, saying efforts were on to rescue them. A statement by Samuel Aruwan, Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, said: “The government condemns this as a despicable action, a most unfortunate intrusion of crime into the life of young students and the staff teaching them. “Governor Nasir el-Rufai has dispatched a government delegation to sympathise with the school community and assure them that security agencies are working to rescue the abducted persons,” he said. School located in the bush Our correspondent who visited the college, located at Kakau Daji in Chikun Local Government Area, reports that there was confusion at the school between 12 noon and 4pm when the news of the abduction spread. No student was seen within the school premises by 5pm when our correspondent arrived at the school premises. The hostels and classrooms were empty, leaving only the school security personnel who were armed with machetes manning the gate. Armed security men were however seen on patrol within the vicinity of the school but left when it was getting dark. One of the security men told our correspondent that the gate was crowded earlier in the day as parents and other concerned individuals made frantic efforts to take the wards away from the school. The staff members declined to comment on the incident, saying they had no permission to speak on the matter. A witness, who did not disclose his name, said the gunmen made their way into the premises through an opening between the gate and the generator house. “Some of them came through the maize farm and went to where the teachers were staying. “They whipped some of the staff with branches they must have cut from trees in the surrounding bushes. The students did not know what was happening until some of the gunmen went and forced their way into their dormitories and started selecting the girls at random before taking them away,” he said. He said the operation lasted for about 30 minutes, leaving the rest of the children screaming and calling for help. Our correspondent observed that the school is located in a thick bush and almost standing alone in the village which has few houses. It is a very large school with lots of buildings that are used as offices, hostels and classrooms. While the southern end of the school has a perimeter fence that is about six feet tall, the northern side, starting from the generator house, was open as work on the fence has not been completed. There is also a huge maize farm that covered that flank of the school making it difficult to see it from that side. Some of the villagers said even before the abduction, the road to the village was a no-go area once dusk sets in. A commercial motorcycle rider who gave his name as John, said those of them familiar with the area had to choose the paths to ply at particular times of the day due to security concerns. “Once it is evening, we don’t go through many of these routes because of security issues,” he said. The abductors were yet to make contact with the school authority at the time of filing this report. Our correspondent reports that the village was near the spot where three children stumbled on the corps of a slain army colonel in 2015. How I heard the abduction of my daughter When contacted in Zaria, mother of one of the victims, who craved for anonymity, said their daughter called yesterday morning to inform the family of the incident. “My daughter is in SSII. She tried to get my number and that of her father but the lines did not get through. So, she called her grandmother crying, saying that they were kidnapped at their school by gunmen. It was the grandmother that told us what happened. “Later, the bursar of the school called and informed us that six students, a matron and one other staff were kidnapped. He said our daughter was one of the kidnapped students. According to what we learnt, they were kidnapped at about 12 midnight in their hostel,” she said She explained that her daughter has been at the school for the past five years. “She started from JSSI. Of course, the school is in an isolated location, but this is the first incident of kidnapping or anything of that nature. I know that the school has security personnel and it was fenced, although the fence is short. My husband has gone to Kaduna to get more information. However, our prayer is for the girls to get out from captivity unhurt. “We learnt that the police and even Air force are now searching for the girls. This prompt action is commendable. We want to urge them not to give up until they secure the release of our daughters and other victims. They shouldn’t allow this incident to be like others in the past where the victims are yet to be found,” she said. When our correspondent visited the family home, the whole area was in mourning mood. Relatives, friends and other sympathisers were seen consoling the mother of the victim. The pictures of the 16-year-old girl were seen being viewed by some of the sympathisers with disbelief and concern on their faces and murmuring.