President Muhammadu Buhari says he has been reliably informed that Nigerian soldiers and police officers are engaged in a gun battle with bandits in Katsina.
The bandits reportedly kidnapped hundreds of students from the Government Science Secondary School (GSSS), Kankara.
Buhari is presently on a “private consultation visit” to Daura in his home state of Katsina. Reports say the students were kidnapped a few hours after the president arrived the state. Buhari’s media aide Garba Shehu said in a statement on Saturday that the bandits have been located.
“In the latest briefing received by the president from Governor Aminu Bello Masari, with whom he has been in touch, and the Army Chief of Staff, General Tukur Buratai, the military, supported by air power has located the bandits’ enclave at Zango/Paula forest in Kankara and there have been exchange of fire in an ongoing operation,” Shehu said.
“Police said so far, there has not been reported any student casualty.
“The president has directed the reinforcement of security of all schools in line with the safe schools policy of the administration.”
Buhari, according to Shehu, condemned the attack and charged “the army and the police to go after the attackers to ensure that no student gets missing or harmed.”
“The president urged the school authorities to carry out an audit of the population of the students following shootings in and around the school that sent hundreds of them fleeing and scrambling over perimeter walls,” Shehu said.
Apparently responding to reports that at least 600 out of the 800 GSSS Kankara students were missing after the attack, Shehu said some parents, in the wake of the attack, already withdrew their children from the school and had not informed the authorities about it.
“Parents who rushed to the school and removed their children and wards were also required to notify the school and police authorities in order to have a full account of the school population,” Shehu said.
Shehu then qouted Buhari’s own words:
“I strongly condemn the cowardly bandits’ attack on innocent children at the Science School, Kankara.
“Our prayers are with the families of the students, the school authorities and the injured.”