Zamfara: How Bandits Fooled Security Agents To Abduct 317 Schoolgirls

The bandits who struck at the Government Secondary School, Jangebe in Zamfara State,early yesterday ,appeared to have outsmarted security agents in the area in a game of wits in the moments leading to the invasion of the school.

The gunmen,according to sources,seemed to have divided themselves into groups,with one group engaging the security agents in a battle while another group moved into the school premises to abduct the girls.

This strategy,it was gathered,kept the security agents busy and unable to know what was going on at the school.

Preliminary report made available to the Federal Government yesterday put the number of the abductees at 307 as against the 317 initially reported.

Seven of the students escaped.

President Muhammadu Buhari,in his first reaction to the development yesterday, warned bandits against over-stretching their luck, saying the only thing shielding them from certain destruction is the restraint for the lives of the innocent captives.

The Nation gathered that security agents engaged in a fierce battle with some of the bandits who were used as decoys to divert attention from the abduction.

The preliminary report to government showed that the bandits marched the girls in the dark into the bush.

The military and security agencies have already located where the girls are being kept..

But the prevalent harmattan in some parts of the North, including Zamfara State and government’s concern for the lives of the girls, are said to be delaying a rescue operation from the air and on the land.

The Chief of Defence Staff, Maj. Gen Lucky Irabor, is said to be coordinating the rescue operation.

“From preliminary report, the bandits this time around changed tactics before abducting the school girls in Jangebe,” an authoritative source said last night .

“They (bandits) diverted the attention of security agencies by using kidnappers as decoys. We have it on record that security agents clashed with some kidnappers in Jangebe before the bandits struck.

“So, while security agents were battling kidnappers, the bandits took advantage to raid the school and abduct the girls.”

Responding to a question, the source said: “The girls were marched on foot into the bush under armed escort by the bandits who were more in number than the abductees.

“The girls, who were frightened, tried to save their lives by pleading and obeying the directives of the bandits.”

Sources said the location of the abducted school girls has been found.

Said one of the sources: “The military and other security agencies have located where the girls are being kept.

“But what is delaying the rescue operation, both in the air and on the land, is the prevalent harmattan in the North, including Zamfara State. The harsh weather makes visibility on land and in the air difficult.

“Troops and other agents are also being careful to ensure minimum damage in rescuing the girls. We may have no choice than to call a spade, a spade.

“We hope political authority in the stste will buy the idea of the military liberating these innocent girls.”

The Chief of Defence Staff, Maj. Gen Lucky Irabor, was busy last night coordinating the rescue mission.

Other sources in Jangebe itself said the bandits struct at about 1am,shooting sporadically.

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