Katsina state is fast becoming a playground for armed hoodlums and bandits as police confirmed the kidnapping of 84 school children on Saturday night.
This was some 72 hours after Kankara schoolboys captured 11 December by bandits were freed.
The 84 children were abducted 2200 GMT by armed men, who ambushed them in Mahuta village, Dandume LGA, as they were returning from a Maulud Nabbiyu event at Unguwan Alkasim village.
The children were all of Hizburrahim Islamiyya school.
The same set of bandits had already kidnapped four persons and rustled twelve cows from Danbaure village in Funtua LGA of the state, before kidnapping the children.
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They were trying to escape into the forest, when they ran into the children.
But the police and vigilante groups swiftly responded to rescue the children.
The DPO of Dandume LGA got a distress call and moved in his men.
Police Spokesman, SP Gambo Isah, in a statement Sunday said the DPO led Operations “Puff Adder,” Sharan Daji and Vigilante group to the area and engaged the bandits into a fierce gun duel.
“Subsequently, the teams succeeded in dislodging the bandits and rescued all the eighty-four (84) kidnapped victims and recovered all the twelve rustled cows.
“Search parties are still combing the area with a view of arresting the injured bandits and/or recovery of their dead bodies. Investigation is ongoing,” Isah noted.
However, some reports indicated that some of the children are still in the hands of the bandits.
Hamisu Ya’u, a resident of Mahuta told an online medium that “nobody will tell you the exact number of the abducted children because it happened at night and the place where the abduction took place was very dark”.
“As of now, we don’t have the exact figures of the rescued ones and the missing ones.”