Osama Aminu Maale, an 18-year-old student of Government Science School, Kankara, in Katsina State, has narrated how he escaped from bandits who kidnapped hundreds of his colleagues last Friday.
According to Maale, 520 students were abducted when the armed bandits stormed the school on Friday night.
“There were a total of 520 of us that were taken by the gunmen from the school,” he told AFP on the phone.
“After they took us away we stopped inside the bus where they made the older students take a headcount. We counted 520,” he said.
The hostages were split into groups before Maale and four others escaped.
“One of the gunmen hit me repeatedly when I failed to keep up with the rest of the group due to my failing health before he let me trail behind, giving me the chance to escape,” Maale added.
The Federal Government has said efforts were on to rescue students abducted by armed men who raided their hostels.
UN children’s agency UNICEF condemned the assault on the school in Katsina, the home state of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
State governor, Aminu Masari, who visited the school on Saturday, said soldiers were working to locate and free the hostages.
“Soldiers are currently in the bushes fighting the bandits. We will do all we can to ensure all the abducted children are reclaimed,” he said.
Masari said it was still not clear how many students were “in the hands of the bandits” and how many had managed to escape.
“The school has a population of 839 and so far, we are yet to account for 333 students,” Masari told a federal government delegation in his office on Sunday.
“We are still counting because more are still coming out of the forest,” said the governor.
“Up till this moment, no one can give a precise figure of the children abducted,” he stated, adding that students who escaped confirmed some of their peers were taken.
Since the attack, all secondary schools in the state have been shut. Residents of Kankara also protested the abduction of the students on Sunday, asking the authorities to ensure their speedy release.