Zamfara abductions: Bandits free toddlers, nursing mothers

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Rampaging bandits on Monday night have released three toddlers, nursing mothers, and at least one of the parents of the Jangebe schoolgirls abducted from their schools this month.

The toddlers, nursing mothers, and the Jangebe parent had been held captive for three months as the bandits awaited a ransom in exchange for their freedom.

The father of one of the abducted Jangebe schoolgirls revealed this on Monday night after regaining freedom.

Iliya Gwaram, freed and taken to the Government House, Gusau around 9:00 pm on Monday, said he told his daughter not to recognise him while being held by their abductors.

Mr. Gwaram, rescued along with nine other victims, including nursing mothers and three toddlers, said, “I have been in captivity with these other people for more than three months when on that Friday morning, l saw the schoolgirls brought to where our abductors camped us.

“At first, l didn’t know who they were or where they were coming from until l saw the face of my scared daughter looking at me. I quickly told some of the girls who were brought along with her and sat near me to tell my child not to show any indication that she even knew me.”

Continuing, he stated, “The girls were brave enough, and they kept our little secret up to the last day of their four days stay with us. I never cried in the whole of my life like l cried the day the girls were taken back because l felt it was the last time l would see my daughter.

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“Fortunately and unknown to me, my daughter informed Governor Matawalle of our whereabouts and poor health conditions, which led to our freedom today as facilitated by the governor and his security people.”

Speaking on ransom paid to release them, Mr. Gwaram explained, “Look at those two women rescued along with me; N2 million was said to have been raised by their relatives to give to the bandits more than two months ago.

“But the money could not be traced as it was suspected that a different gang intercepted the man bringing the money and took it from him.” 

But Mr. Gwaram asserted that despite the abductions, his daughter would continue her education.

He noted, “If she wasn’t educated, she would have exposed me when she saw me, and that would have put the two of us in danger. I thank God for that, and l will continue to pray that such a thing never happens to even my worst enemy.” 

On March 2, 279 of the Jangebe schoolgirls abducted by bandits from their school were released four days later after receiving a ransom, though the state government denied any payment.

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