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Bandits kill army officer, 10 other soldiers in Benue

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An army officer and 10 other soldiers have been killed in Benue State while on a routine operational task, the Nigerian Army has said.

Unconfirmed reports also indicated that over 50 civilians were killed and 200 houses burnt following an invasion of Konshisha Local Government Area of the state by troops.

A statement issued by the spokesman for the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, said following the killings, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru, had ordered commanders on the ground to fish out and deal decisively with the criminal gangs responsible for the crime.

It stated, “Nigerian Army (NA) troops operating in Benue State came under attack while on routine operational task. The troops comprising one officer and 10 soldiers were initially declared missing, which prompted the deployment of a joint search and rescue team comprising NA troops and personnel of Operation Whirl Stroke.

“The search and rescue team unfortunately found all the missing troops dead in Konshisha LGA of Benue State. “While the bodies of the slain troops were evacuated immediately, efforts are ongoing to track down the perpetrators of this heinous crime with a view to bringing them to Justice.”

The statement said the Nigerian Army under the leadership of the Attahiru remained resolute in ensuring stability in Benue State as well as other parts of the country that were affected by the activities of criminal gangs.

It said the army was determined to ensure that the unprovoked attack did not disrupt the general peace being enjoyed by the local inhabitants.

“The COAS, has therefore, directed commanders on the ground to ensure sustained efforts in order to fish out and deal decisively with these bad elements who are threatening the peace in the area”, it said.

The statement recalled that Benue State, which was a hot bed of violent clashes had enjoyed relative peace following the successes achieved by the various security agencies who have been working tirelessly to safeguard law abiding citizens and ensure they go about their legitimate business without fear of harassment by criminals.

It appealed to the public to volunteer useful information that would lead to the arrest of the perpetrators of the dastardly act.

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Niger gov returns, meets parents of abducted Tegina schoolchildren

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Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State has met with the parents of the 136 students of Salihu Tanko Islamiya School, Tegina, who were abducted last month.

The governor had travelled abroad after the abduction, while his deputy coordinated the rescue operation.

Upon his return to the country, Bello launched a special vigilante to deal with gangs causing crisis within the state and proceeded to Tegina to see the parents of the abducted children.

The governor met with the parents of the victims and other stakeholders at the palace of the Emir of Kagara, Ahmed Garba Gunna.

He sympathised with them and promised that the state government was determined to rescue the children.

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Kebbi shuts seven schools after FGC students, teachers abduction

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Seven schools considered unsafe in Kebbi State have been shut indefinitely after last Thursday’s abduction of students and teachers of Federal Government College, Birnin Yauri by bandits.

Chairman Kebbi chapter of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Isah Arzika, stated this.

According to him, the shut schools are in vulnerable areas of the state believed to be soft targets of bandits.

He said the move was a proactive measure to further prevent recurrence of the FGC, Birnin Yauri’s incident.

Arzika said the state government had directed all principals to close any school considered not safe.

“Police and vigilante groups have since been deployed for monitoring and protection of schools,” he said.

He said all the proactive measures involved all stakeholders critical to safety of school environment.

“This is because principals are teachers, all the Directors at the Board are also teachers. It is the decision that we all took that is affecting us,” he stated.

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Troops rescue more abducted Kebbi school victims

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  • Abductors contact parents

The Nigerian troops have rescued three more students and a teacher who were among dozens of people kidnapped from the Federal Government College, Birnin Yauri, Kebbi State, last week.

This came as the abductors have contacted the parents and relations of the kidnapped people.

Members of Operation Hadarin Daji, with the support from the Air Force, rescued the four at Makuku in Kebbi, Director of Army Public Relations, Brig-Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, said on Sunday.

That brings to 11 the total number of students and teachers rescued since the abduction last Thursday night.

The troops also killed one bandit and recovered nine motorcycles and four handsets from the fleeing kidnappers.

Although an unspecified number of teachers and students were abducted from the school, a total of three teachers and eight students have so far been rescued.

They were rescued on Friday and Saturday by the army, after a firefight with the kidnappers.

The army spokesman said additional troops had also been deployed to dominate the forest and deny the bandits freedom of action.

Meanwhile, Isah Arzika, Chairman of Kebbi State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Isah Arzika, has said the abductors of students have contacted the parents.

He said the kidnappers contacted the parents of the students and the family members of other abductees to inform them that their children were in their custody.

He said the bandits did not demand ransom.

He, however, added that the bandits had not made any contact again after the rescue mission by security agencies.

He said, “Since the security agencies have swung into action on the bandits, we have not made fresh contact with the parents and relatives of the students and teachers still in their captivity.

“When we made our first contact two days ago, precisely on Thursday, they did not demand any ransom. Instead, they told the parents and relatives that they only wanted to establish contact with them and inform them that their children are with them.

“As I am talking to you, two of our teachers have regained their freedom. Already, seven schools on the frontline in that area have been closed and more will be closed if we realise the situation is not safe for the teachers and students.

“There was communication from them, but none of them asked for a kobo. They only said they wanted to establish contact that the abductees are in their custody.

“It was yesterday (Friday) that the security agencies swung on them and since then, there was no contact again.”

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