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HomeBreakingKidnapped Students Rescued in Dramatic Gun Battle in Kogi State

Kidnapped Students Rescued in Dramatic Gun Battle in Kogi State

Video of a classroom where students were kidnapped on Thursday in Kogi at college.

Reporters Battling Media Blackout Find More Riddles Than Answers

By Segun Onibiyo and Mike Odeh James

(Kaduna)  Citizen guards and federal forces joined forces over the weekend in bandit-ridden Kogi State, subduing terrorists and rescuing students, TruthNigeria has learned.

In a daring operation, local hunters and federal forces have rescued some 14 students kidnapped from Confluence State University of Science and Technology, Kogi State on May 9. The rescue mission was carried out after a fierce gun battle with the terrorists, some of whom reportedly were wounded but escaped.

“Local vigilantes (citizen guards) and security agents engaged the kidnappers in a fierce shootout, and the kidnappers succumbed to superior firepower and escaped with gun wounds, leaving the kidnapped students who also ran in different directions to avoid being caught up in the fire exchange,” according to a press release issued by Kingsley Femi Fanwo, Commissioner for Information and Communications, on May 12, 2024.

“Many of the students kidnapped and even other people in captivity have been rescued and taken to medical facilities for proper attention, while many others were also rescued in the early hours of today,” was reported on Channels TV.

“Security agents are currently combing the forests to ensure all the kidnapped students are found and brought home safely,” Fanwo reported.

Controversies Trail Kidnap of Students

The kidnapping of the students has raised several questions and controversies.

Governor Usman Ododo visited the institution on May 11, 2024, and pledged that the students would be rescued. However, he also raised a red flag when he revealed that the CCTV cameras were switched off before the attack, suggesting internal sabotage.

On May 9, 2024, around 7 p.m., terrorists, armed to the teeth, invaded the university premises, catching the students and security personnel off guard. The terrorists engaged the security personnel in a fierce gun duel, which lasted for a grueling four hours. Despite the bravery of the security team, they were eventually subdued, allowing the terrorists to gain unrestricted access to the student hostels. Press have not been told why additional military personnel did not arrived to assist the attackers during the four-hour period of the gun battle.

With reckless abandon, the terrorists went from hostel to hostel, abducting students and leaving a trail of fear and chaos in their wake, according to media reports.  The students, who had been preparing for their exams, were suddenly thrust into a nightmare as they were dragged away from their friends and loved ones.

In the end, many students were taken captive, leaving their families and the university community in a state of anguish and despair.

The incident has sparked outrage and calls for improved security measures to protect students and staff in educational institutions. However, the government’s response to the incident has drawn fire for being slow and inadequate. Many have questioned why the CCTV cameras were switched off and why the university was left vulnerable to attack despite repeated warnings.

Uncertainty hangs over the number of students that were kidnapped from Confluence University and the number of students rescued.

The first seed of confusion was sown by the state government’s inability to state the actual number of students who were kidnapped on May 9, 2024.

Whereas the government’s spokesman said only nine students were kidnapped, students told local newspapers that more than 50 were kidnapped.

Some Nigerian newspapers reported 14 students were kidnapped, while others gave various figures. Parents of kidnapped students who did not want to disclose their identity told TruthNigeria that more than 50 students were taken off campus, suggesting that 37 students are being held hostage in the forest.

Exactly 14 students and other people previously kidnapped by the terrorists had been rescued, according to Kingsley Fanwo, the Commissioner of Information on May 12, 2024. He would later state that security agencies are still scouting for the rest of the kidnapped students.

Kogi Citizens Speak Out

Usman Okai Austin, a prominent advocate for good governance in Kogi State. Photo credit Usman Okai.
Usman Okai Austin, a prominent advocate for good governance in Kogi State. Photo credit Usman Okai.

 Usman Okai Austin, a prominent advocate for good governance  in Kogi State, told TruthNigeria:

“The university was sited in a remote place surrounded by bush and far away from other communities. This made it an easy target for the terrorists.”

“Secondly, I learned that the higher institution does not have adequate security personnel or security measures to prevent kidnapping. The number of security personnel is just not enough, and they are poorly equipped to deal with the threat of terrorism.”

“Apart from that, the governor himself said that the CCTV cameras were switched off before the attacks, which means that within the university community, there are informants or betrayers. This is a clear case of sabotage, and the government must investigate and bring those responsible to justice.”

“Yet, we are not seeing arrests or proper investigations by the state government. Instead, they are busy issuing statements and trying to cover up their failure to protect the students.”

Philip Amodu, a native of Okene County in Kogi and a major seller of tires, told TruthNigeria, he isn’t satisfied with the government’s response.

“While the government announced that it has rescued the students, it has not really told the public the number of students rescued and the numbers of those not rescued,” Amodu said. “This lack of transparency is suspicious, and we demand to know the truth,” he added.

“Furthermore, the government has not told us the identity of the kidnappers, though it is well known. They are trying to hide something,” Amodu went on to say.

Who are the kidnappers?

According to  Femi Iseilaye , a retired police officer and security consultant who is a resident  of Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, the kidnappers are fighters with an Islamist insurgency called Ansaru, an Al-Qaeda group that affiliated with Boko Haram in 2012. They fled the north and settled in communities in north-central Nigeria.   Some analysts believe Ansaru fighters were behind the sophisticated train derailment and kidnapping in Kaduna State in 2022.

Femi Iseilaye told TruthNigeria that, “Ansaru has long entrenched itself in Kogi, and they have recruited local people, such as some members of the Igbirras and Igarras ethnicities, into their fold.

“They may be working with some people within the school to access the switchboard for the cameras, Iseilaye went on to say, adding:

“I believe they would not have had it easy kidnapping the students without collaboration from the school and some officials of the university.”

“The identity of the attackers and kidnappers is well known to all, including the government. The terrorists, who have been operating in the state for years, are kidnapping and killing innocent people. But the government has failed to take decisive action against them,”said

Mohammed Sani Binji, 45, a resident of Okene, responding to TruthNigeria by phone said: ”They are  called the Ansaru. In fact, the Ansaru terrorists have been operating smaller villages attached to Okene for over a year now. They have been kidnapping and killing our people, and the state government has done nothing to stop them,” Binji continued.

“These terrorists have been kidnapping and killing our people, so the state government was supposed to beef up the schools with adequate security personnel and gadgets. But it did not. Instead, they left the students vulnerable to attack, and now they are trying to cover up their failure.”

How We Rescued Some of the Students

A leader of the local citizen guards group who participated in the rescue of the students spoke exclusively to TruthNigeria about what happened.

Danladi Bako said, “The kidnappers took the students through the hills around the Lokoja, Obajana, and Kabba forests, where some passersby saw them and alerted the chief hunter in Kabba, who mobilized along with security forces (police and civil defense officials) and engaged the kidnappers in their hideout.”

“Security are still in pursuit of some of them, and I can confidently say we will capture them and rescue the rest of the students,” Bako said.

Segun Onibiyo and Mike Odeh James are Kaduna based conflict reporters for TruthNigeria.



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