Kaduna abduction: Bandits release another 32 Baptist students, hold 31
Another 32 students of Bethel Baptist School in Kaduna State have regained freedom from bandits after spending 52 days in captivity, with 31 others still held hostage.
With the latest release, 90 students have regained their freedom so far.
The Vice President, Christian Association of Nigeria (19 Northern States and Abuja) and chairman of CAN in Kaduna State, Rev. Joseph Hayab, confirmed the development in an interview with one of our correspondents, adding that they had been reunited with their parents.
He said, “This (Friday) evening, 32 of the students were released. We expected more of that figure. We had been on it since yesterday (Thursday). They have been reunited with their parents and they are taking them straight to the hospital for treatment. No time to waste.”
Hayab had earlier told one of our correspondents on Friday that the negotiator was working hard to ensure that the kidnappers released more students than they did last week.
He said, “The challenge is that the bandits do not release the children because their parents paid any amount. After all, we have one negotiator and when any amount is given to bandits, they release the number of children they deem fit. All the students released so far are junior students who are weak and vulnerable. None of the senior school students kidnapped has been released.
“CAN Kaduna State is simply crying out to spirited Nigerians to come to our rescue in whatever way to help get our children back home. The trauma parents of these children are going through is not good for their physical and mental health. The worst is how the children are faring in this rainy season. Those who were released came back home very sick and weak, suggesting that those not back may be in a more severe situation.”
Sources had told Saturday PUNCH that the parents had paid a fresh N24m ransom after the initial N50m collected by the bandits.
It was learnt that each student’s parents were asked to contribute an additional N300,000 to raise the fresh ransom after contributing N500,000 each for the first ransom.
Our correspondents gathered that sympathisers assisted with donations as some parents could not contribute.
A total of 121 students were abducted from their hostels by bandits on July 5 but some of them later escaped.