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Katsina school abduction: Police rescue 200 students, 54 still missing

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  • Military has located abductors’ enclave, says presidency

The police and other security operatives have rescued 200 students after the abduction of hundreds of students on Friday night from a Katsina science school.

But Katsina police spokesman, Isah Gambo, said on Saturday that the police had yet to ascertain the number of students abducted from the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara.

He spoke at a press conference in Katsina, adding that the police, Army and Nigerian Air Force were in the bush trying to rescue other students.

It was learnt that about 54 students were still missing as of Saturday night after the rescue of 200 out of over 800 students that were said to be in the school when the kidnappers got there.

Gambo said, “Yesterday, 11/12/2020 at about 21:40hrs, bandits in their numbers, shooting sporadically with AK 47 rifles, attacked Government Science Secondary School, Kankara.

“The policemen on duty also responded to the attack and engaged them in a gun duel which gave the students opportunity to scale the fence of the school and run for safety.

“The DPO reinforced the policemen on duty with Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) which forced the hoodlums to retreat into the forest. One inspector sustained a gunshot wound and was taken to the hospital and is responding to treatment.

“In the course of the investigation, the DPO rescued over 200 students back into the school compound.

“The police, Nigerian Army, and Nigerian Air Force are working closely with the school authorities to ascertain the actual number of the missing and/or kidnapped students while search parties are assiduously working with a view to finding and/or rescuing the missing students.”

The presidency said the military had located bandits’ enclave and condemned the attack at the secondary school.

President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the security operatives to go after the attackers to ensure that no student remained missing or harmed.

A statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu, said the the military had engaged the abductors in an exchange of fire in their hideout.

The statement said President urged the school authorities to carry out an audit of the population of the students.

It said 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.

The President was quoted as saying, “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.”

Buhari pledged to continue to support the police and military struggle against terrorists and bandits.

“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. Police said so far, there has not been reported any student casualty,” the statement informed.

It said the President has directed the reinforcement of security of all schools in line with the safe schools policy of the administration.

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Lagos traditional ruler jailed 15 years

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A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has sentenced a traditional ruler to a 15-year jail term for faking his kidnap.

Mutiu Ogundare, who a deposed Baale of Shangisha in the Magodo area of Lagos, was found guilty of the offence by the court.

Justice Hakeem Oshodi sentenced Ogundare having convicted him of the two counts, bordering on breach of peace and fake kidnapping.

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Midnight gunshots, burglars terrify Lagos community

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Abule Taylor community in the Abule Egba area

Residents of Abule Taylor community in the Abule Egba area of Lagos State have lamented incessant gunshots every midnight in the area.

The residents, who spoke to our correspondent, also decried the activities of burglars and miscreants who terrorised people in the community.

A resident, who identified himself simply as Biggie for security reasons, said he realised he was not the only one aware of the situation when he got a call from a neighbour while another shooting was going on.

He said, “A neighbour called my phone one midnight to alert me when he heard the gunshots. I told him that wasn’t the first time such was happening. It has been the case since a man in the neighbourhood was shot dead inside his house while wrestling with armed robbers.”

Another resident, Kola Ajayi, said the neighbourhood also had the same challenge in 2019.

“It was after the community hired vigilantes that the gunshots stopped. Now, the situation is repeating itself,” he added.

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The Chairman, Abule Taylor Community Development Association, Oluwaniyi Emmanuel, confirmed the situation to our correspondent but said “it’s been a while I heard the sound.”

He, however, lamented the activities of miscreants and burglars in the area.

Emmanuel said, “The house opposite the open space where we hold our CDA meetings was recently broken into by burglars who carted away all the property. The principal culprit is from Abiodun Aina Street. He has been disowned by his mother.

“Also, armed robbers do attack and extort those who use Automated Teller Machines in the area. The kiosks where alcoholic drinks are sold in the area are becoming a safe haven for criminals who launch operations from the base.

“We’ve complained to the Lagos State Government, but no serious action was taken. The joint CDA wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Police to deploy officers in the area. However, what the officers were doing was checking vehicle particulars.”

The CDA Assistant Chairman, Okolo Chukwuedo, said, “There was a time a man was killed on the street where the CDA chairman lives. His house was broken into by the people who shot him dead.”

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, could not be reached for comments as of press time.

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Zamfara Killing: MURIC hails media for fair reporting

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Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Prof Ishaq Lakin Akintola

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has hailed the Nigerian media for properly reporting the killing of Muslims in Zamfara last Friday, September 23, 2022.

MURIC commendation is contained in a press statement signed Sunday by its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola.

However, theIslamic human rights organization slammed the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for falsely claiming that it was only Christians that are being killed in Nigeria.

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The statement reads in part: “Terrorists invaded the Friday prayer mosque in Ruwan Jema town in Bukkuyum Local Government Area of Zamfara State Friday, 23rd September, 2022 killing fifteen (15) and injuring forty eight (48) Muslim worshippers. The armed men hid their guns inside their clothes and pretended to be worshippers. They opened fire on innocent worshippers after entering the mosque.

“MURIC is particularly impressed by the manner in which the killing was reported. Unlike in the past when the killing of Muslims attract little or no media attention and mere casualty figures are given while the religion of the victims are deliberately left out, this time around, the Nigerian press really went to town with stories of the Zamfara killings and most media houses identified the victims as Muslims. This is quite laudable.

“The Media Monitoring Unit (MMU) of MURIC reported the use of the following captions in different media houses to describe the Zamfara killings (https://saharareporters.com/2022/09/24/breaking-scores-worshippers-killed-terrorists-attack-zamfara-mosque-during-jumaathttps://dailypost.ng/2022/09/24/bandits-invade-mosque-kill-15-worshippers-in-zamfara/https://www.thecable.ng/15-worshippers-killed-as-bandits-attack-mosque-in-zamfarahttps://muslimnews.com.ng/2022/09/25/terrorists-attack-zamfara-mosque-during-jumaat-prayer-kill-15-worshippers-turkiye-envoy-mourns/https://www.vanguardngr.com/2022/09/bandits-attack-zamfara-mosque-kill-15-worshippers-2/https://pmnewsnigeria.com/2022/09/24/terrorists-shoot-15-worshippers-dead-in-zamfara-mosque/https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2022/09/25/terrorists-invade-mosque-kill-15-worshippers-injure-others-in-zamfara/https://punchng.com/bandits-attack-zamfara-mosque-gun-down-worshippers/https://tribuneonlineng.com/gunmen-kill-15-worshippers-in-mosque-in-zamfara/https://www.channelstv.com/2022/09/24/terrorists-attack-zamfara-mosque-kill-at-least-11/https://thenationonlineng.net/bandits-invade-zamfara-mosque-kill-15-worshippers/)

“Even some foreign media like Voice of America (VOA) and Reuters were not left out of the fair reportage (https://www.voanews.com/a/armed-bandits-kill-15-at-mosque-in-northwest-nigeria-residents-say-/6761811.htmlhttps://www.reuters.com/world/africa/armed-bandits-kill-15-mosque-northwest-nigeria-residents-2022-09-24/https://newscentral.africa/fifteen-killed-forty-eight-injured-as-bandits-ransack-zamfara-mosque/) We salute them all.   

“However, a few media houses need to be awake to the sensitivity of the revelation of identities when reporting incidents like this. It may not have been deliberate, but newsmen need to be conscious of the need not only to be fair but also to be seen to have been fair. At least one or two media houses left out the identity of the faith of the victims of the Zamfara killing (https://www.tvcnews.tv/2018/06/police-confirm-fresh-attack-in-zamfara-village-15-killed/https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/265729-police-confirm-15-killed-in-zamfara-attack.html).

“Both the press and non-governmental organisations should be partners in progress. We cherish the emerging culture of equity, fairness and professionalism in reportage. Both Christians and Muslims deserve fair representation in media reports. This will promote peaceful coexistence among the different faiths.

 “The manner of reporting the Zamfara killings thus revealed the fact that it was Muslims that were killed and injured last Friday. We therefore wonder how the Christian Association of Nigeria arrived at its conclusion that only Christians were being killed in Nigeria and it tried to sell such a dangerous idea to the West, knowing it to be false.

“MURIC is constrained to ask CAN if the 15 worshippers killed and the 48 injured in Zamfara mosque last Friday were also Christians? What of the 200 worshippers killed and the 165 injured in Boko Haram’s bomb attack in Kano Central Mosque on 28th November 2014 (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30250950)? Were they also Christians? Do Christians attend Jumu’ah prayers in mosques?

“The intention and likely outcome of such vicious lies are not lost on us. America and its Western allies like Britain, France and Germany are likely to impose travel sanctions on Muslim leaders in government, label some Islamic organisations in Nigeria as terrorist groups, place some Islamic scholars on terror watch and begin a process of secret supply of weapons to Christian leaders and Nigerian churches.

“But the greatest benefit would have been a geometric increase in the pouring of monetary support in billions of dollars, euro and British pounds to Christian leaders and groups.

“MURIC condemns the killing of innocent Muslims who had only gone to the mosque for their Jumu’ah prayer last Friday. For the umpteenth time, we reiterate our stand that terrorists and bandits are not part of us. They belong to the evil circle of criminals. They are not part of the Muslim community.

“They are rebellious subjects and enemies of peace. Nobody, therefore, should associate them or their actions with the peace-loving and law-abiding Muslims of Nigeria. In the same vein, it will be naïve for any individual or group within or outside the country to link the actions of terrorists and bandits with the Nigerian government.

“We commiserate with Bello Matawalle, the governor of Zamfara, on the senseless killing of innocent citizens of his state. We pray that Allah will forgive the dead and grant the bereaved families the fortitude to bear the loss and the economic empowerment to take care of dependants left behind by their bread winners. Above all, we pray for peace in Zamfara, the entire North and the rest of Nigeria.”

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