Why we let the bandits escape — Nasir El-Rufai

Kaduna governor Nasir El-Rufai has revealed the reasons why his government refused to negotiate with bandits to secure release of abductees.

El-Rufai disclosed this while speaking on the release of 27 students of Federal College of Forestry, Afaka in a Zoom interview organised by African Leadership Group.

Gunmen had on March 12 invaded the institution and abducted 39 students, including a pregnant woman.

A day after the abduction, a video surfaced online, where the students were seen sitting on the ground in an unknown location and guarded by armed men whose identities were concealed.

The victims, who were seen being tortured by the armed men, appealed to the government to rescue them.

Between April 5 and April 8, the bandits released 10 of the abducted students after payment of ransom by parents and school management.

Their abductors had initially demanded a N500 million ransom from the Kaduna state government but El-Rufai ruled out the option of negotiation, saying bandits deserve to be killed.

Speaking during the webinar hosted by the Pastor of Trinity House Church, Ituah lghodalo, the governor said the air force and the army had assured of the strategy they were going to use.

El-Rufai who restated his earlier stance against negotiating with bandits, said their rejection of negotiation does not mean they were not doing anything, insisting that military force would be used in rescuing abductees.

“We’re not just saying we’ll not negotiate with bandits, we try to track them, engage them using military force,” the Kaduna governor said.

“We know it’s risky, we know in the process we may lose some the students,” he said.

According to him, the army already knew the area the students were before they were released.

He, however, lamented that the military rescue plan had been drawn up but was aborted at the last moment when the bandits shifted base.

The governor further explained that the strategy was that while the air force would strike from the air, the army would engage them on the ground.

“We’re going to attack them, we may lose a few students, but will attack the bandits and recover some of the students, that is our plans and that’s the plan of the army,” he said.

He said the they were circled before the bandits shifted through the military siege, which was the reason why they were not engaged before the students were released.

Sahara Reporters

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