The kidnappers of students of Greenfield University, Kasarami, in the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, have established contact with some parents of their victims, demanding for N800m for the release of the kidnapped students.
The students and a matron were abducted on Tuesday around about 8.45pm, claimed the life of a porter with the institution; the only privately-owned university in the state.
Our correspondent, who was in the university community after the incident, gathered that but for the timely intervention of the operatives of the Operation Thunder Strike, the bandits, said to be between ages 17 and 20 years old, would have taken away more students.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mohammed Jalige, confirmed the attack, saying, “There was an attack yesterday (Tuesday) in Greenfield University along Kaduna-Abuja road around 20:15 hours.”
One of the parents of the kidnapped students, who spoke on condition of anonymity on Monday, told our correspondent that the bandits asked for the said amount for the release of the unspecified number of students abducted on Tuesday night.
“I don’t know what we are to pay individually but collectively, they said N800m,” he said. An official of the school told our correspondent that no fewer than 19 students were still unaccounted for.
In a related development, the state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, who confirmed the attack, identified the employee of the university killed as Mr. Paul Ude Okafor. Aruwan stated this in a statement titled, ‘Bandits attack Greenfield University; one varsity staff member killed’.
He said, “After search-and-rescue operations, a staff member of the university, Paul Ude Okafor, was confirmed to have been killed by the bandits, while a number of students were kidnapped.”
Meanwhile, one of the students, who narrowly escaped being kidnapped alongside his schoolmates at the Greenfield University along Kaduna-Abuja highway, said the bandits that raided their school “are just small boys.”
The student, who did not want his name mentioned because of the sensitive nature of the matter, said the ages of the bandits that raided the school were between 17 and 18 years.
He said but for the weapon the bandits had, the students would have engaged them. According to him, the bandits stormed the institution from directions between 8.30pm and 9pm on Tuesday.
He said, “We were already in the hostel when it happened. The bandits came from different directions and entered our school. They just surrounded us and started chasing us. They hit some of the students and came to our hostel and killed our porter.
“They forced some doors open and picked some people. They were just shooting indiscriminately. The funniest thing is that they are between ages 17 and 18 years. But for the sophisticated weapons, we would have fought back.”
There was, however, a drama on Wednesday following the confirmation by the state Police Command’s of the abduction of the students of the Greenfield University.
It was learnt that some of the soldiers at the camp were unhappy that the state police command claimed the credit for the rescue of some of the students.
One of the commanders, who led the operation, on sighting newsmen, said, “You the media, you are writing that the police carried out the operation. The police are claiming the credit of what they didn’t do or know anything about at all.
“I have not slept since 2am (early hours of Wednesday) and you guys are writing that police rescued the students.”
Another solder said, “When we brought them (students), our commander ordered that we bring food for them and they ate. We also cooked for those that are fasting (Muslim). Where were the police? That’s why we don’t like seeing them.”