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‘We trekked for days’ — Niger pupils recount abduction ordeal

Zuwaira Isa, one of the pupils abducted from Salihu Tanko Islamiyya school in Rafi LGA of Niger state, says they suffered while in captivity.

The pupils regained their freedom on Thursday evening after over 80 days in captivity.

According to Isah they walked for almost four days before they arrived at a destination in the forest.

She added that they had little to eat and were beaten by their abductors, who threatened to kill them if their parents failed to pay ransom.

“The Ilittle ones amongst us were lifted on the bandits’ motorcycles throughout the movement,” Isa said.

“We were fed with rice, though not enough to satisfy us. We were subjected to severe beatings both in the morning and evening, and they threatened to kill us if our parents did not pay our ransom.”

Another pupil identified as Hauwa Musa confirmed Isa’s narrative that they were beaten.

She also said they were given small food rations, while two abductees were made to share one sachet water.

“They usually beat us and threatened to kill us and dump our bodies in the bush if our parents did not pay the ransom,” Musa said.

Musa, however, said that the incident will not deter her from continuing with her educational pursuit, adding that she is “so much eager to go back to school”.

Meanwhile, Alhassan Garba, headteacher of the school, says all the pupils have been reunited with their parents.

Speaking at a media briefing on Sunday, the headteacher said he was asked to come and pick up the pupils at Gwaska in Birnin Gwari LGA of Kaduna state, after they were freed by their abductors.

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“I had to take a bike from Birnin Gwari town to a particular destination where I picked the children for onward journey back to Minna,” he said.

“I personally supervised the handover of the pupils to their parents on Friday and Saturday.

“All the parents were happy to have their children back and willing to allow them to continue to acquire their education in the same school.”

He added that the school management will soon meet to work out modalities for reopening, as well as security measures to be adopted to ensure the safety of the pupils and students.

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Musa Tanimu Nasidi