Keeps mum over attack on military installation
The Nigerian Army has successfully rescued 75 children who were kidnapped by abductors from their school in Zamfara State according to a spokesman for the Zamfara State government.
The spokesman who attributed the rescue to the latest military crackdown against bandits in the area, said no ransom was paid for the 75 children and that they had been received by the governor at his headquarters.
Images of boys and girls in uniform, seated inside what looked like a meeting room were shared by the spokesman.
But he did not say when they were freed.
Gunmen took the students from the village of Kaya on 1st September in the latest of mass kidnappings from schools across the North-Western region of Nigeria.
More than 1,100 children have been seized since December last year. Authorities say they were abducted by heavily armed gangs of bandits seeking ransoms.
Zamfara has been one of the states worst-hit in the abduction crisis.
On 3rd September, authorities ordered a phone and internet blackout there while security forces cracked down on the gangs.
Since then, the state has been largely cut off from the outside world and while rumours have circulated about what is going on, the military has given little information.
Since Sunday night, several Nigerian media outlets have reported that bandits in Zamfara had attacked a military base and killed 12 soldiers.
Asked to comment, defence spokesman Major General Benjamin Sawyerr neither denied nor confirmed the reports.
“Operations are ongoing in that area and there is a total shutdown of communications. Our troops are consolidating on successes recorded so far. Information on ongoing operations will be premature at this stage,” he said.
In a separate statement on Sunday, Sawyerr said the military was aware of pictures and videos circulating online, purportedly showing the dumping in mass graves of bodies of people killed in the Zamfara crackdown. He said the images were not genuine.
“The viral pictures being circulated have nothing in common with the ongoing operations,” he said, adding that the armed forces were acting “in strict compliance with the rules of armed conflicts”. (with Reuters reports)