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HomeBreaking287 Kidnapped Children Held in Birnin Gwari Forest: Tribal Chiefs

287 Kidnapped Children Held in Birnin Gwari Forest: Tribal Chiefs

By Mike Odeh

(Kaduna) More than 280 kidnapped school kids and their teachers are squatting under hot and humid forest canopy in a terrorist stronghold of Birnin Gwari, but they haven’t gone far from the school, TruthNigeria has leaned. The abducted kids attended a primary school in Kuriga and a nearby secondary school in a largely ungoverned county [Local Governance Area] in Kaduna State where it borders with Niger State.

“The school children have not been moved to Niger, Katsina or Zamfara yet, and the possibility of them been taking to these places are very slim, said Sarkin Yakin Udawa said to Truthnigeria. “In fact, the school children and their captors are in the forest of Birnin Gwari,” Udawa said exclusively to Truthnigeria.

“As of March 15, there were heavy military personnel encircling the forest and cutting it off from Zamfara and Katsina,” Udawa went on to say.

“They also set up roadblocks around the forest leading to Niger State. From our local sources, we know that the children have not been taken far away, and it is just a matter of time before, the military gets to them,” the chief added.

Chief Udawa commended General V.U. Okoro, the General officer Commanding the First Division of the Nigerian Army, for his proactivity during the kidnapping.

“Immediately after the kidnapping, the GOC of One Division Kaduna, came down to Kuriga and established a perimeter within the forest, and his men gave the terrorists hot chase.

“As we speak, the men of the Nigerian Army have surrounded the forest, and they are combing it now,” Udawa said.

The captors of the kids are local Fulani terrorists from Kuriga and Gayam settlements and not Boko Haram [Western learning forbidden] or mercenaries from the large gang of terrorist-bandit kingpin Dogo Gide, Truthnigeria has been told.

Bashir Ibrahim Udawa. Credit Mike Odeh James.
Bashir Ibrahim Udawa. Credit Mike Odeh James.

Bashir Ibrahim, also a tribal Chief of Udawa, said that Fulani terrorists from the two communities of Kuriga and Gayam took advantage of lack of governance and government presence in Kuriga to stage the kidnapping.

“I can tell you that, there was no Boko Haram involved, Dogo Gide’s men were not involved in this kidnapping .It is the local Fulanis who were living in our midst that staged this mass kidnap.

” Even before this kidnapping, the Fulanis were already staging minor kidnappings, raping stealing and looting within Kuriga and neighboring communities

“At times, they would go outside the community, kidnap people and hide them in the Birnin Gwari forest and demand for ransom. If you challenge, you could be killed or permanently injured .

“Kuriga has never had an army base, a police outpost, and it does not have a vigilante office or presence in Kuriga,” according to Ibrahim.

“In fact we do not have court of law or any serious government presence her,” Ibrahim said.

“This situation has emboldened the Fulani here and they have now become home grown terrorists to act with impunity,” he said.

“They knew that they would not be challenged or punished and so they did not hide their intention of kidnapping the school children,” he added.

The terrorists in Kuriga invited another set of terrorists from a village called Gayam to help them perpetuate the school children kidnapping, Ibrahim said.

Navy Captain Umar Bakori retired. Credit Facebook.
Navy Captain Umar Bakori retired. Credit Facebook.

A security consultant and analyst, Navy Captain Umar Bakori, told Truthnigeria that going by the manner of the Kuriga kidnapping it did not bear the signature of Dogo Gide, ISWAP or Ansaru, all of which are believed to be active within the area of Kuriga.

” When the real terrorists come, they will shoot and shoot till everyone is dispersed and then herd their captives away .They won’t give you that chance to allow people to follow them. However, this particular group did things shoddily,” Bakori said.

“Again, going by the nature of the demands they made, you will understand that they are local boys and perhaps are from Kuriga or Birnin Gwari or Udawa,” according to Bakori

“There are reports that over the years, young Fulani men from that Kuriga area are increasingly turning into terrorism as means of livelihood. So, it is easy for us to deduce that identities of the kidnappers,” the retired military officer said.

Mike Odeh James is a conflict reporter in Kaduna and covers crime and terrorism for TruthNigeria

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