Niger State Government on Thursday stepped up efforts to rescue students and workers of Government Science College, Kagara who were abducted on Wednesday.
A competent source, who spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons, said officials of Niger and Zamfara states governments met some bandits at Dutsin Magaji of Kotonkoro forest in the Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State on Thursday evening.
The source stated, “The committee from Niger State went to Kotonkoro forest this evening where the bandits who allegedly took the students chose as meeting centre. Some officials of Zamfara State also joined them.”
Kotonkoro forest, according to him bordered four states of Kebbi, Zamfara, Niger and Kaduna where the bandits from the affected states could easily meet if there was any serious issue.
A popular Kaduna-based cleric, Ahmad Gumi, also met some bandits in Niger State as part of efforts to rescue the students.
Gumi met the bandit in a forest between Tegina in Niger State and Birnin Gwari Kaduna State on Thursday afternoon.
Effort to get the comment of the Niger State Government on the state officials’ meeting with the bandits did not succeed.
The State Commission for Information Sani Idris, and the Special Adviser to the state Governor on Media, Mohammed Mohammed, did not respond to calls and SMS sent to them.
When contacted for comment on the involvement of Zamfara State Government, the Special Adviser to the state Governor on Public Enlightenment Media and Communications, Zailani Bappa said, “There is nothing like that at the moment.”
Bappa stressed that the state Governor, Bello Matawalle, had been making frantic efforts to make sure he worked with other North-West governors on how to end banditry but was not getting much support from them.
Also on Thursday, more facts emerged about the abduction of students and workers of GSC Kagara.
A resident, Aliyu Isa, who escaped while his colleagues were being taken away, said abductors told the abductees that they were soldiers.
It was also gathered security team dispatched to Niger State from Abuja had through air surveillance detected the location of abductees from Kagara and 18 passengers of the state transport service, who were kidnapped at Yakila village also in the Rafi LGA on Sunday.
A top security source said the kidnappers of the students and the passengers belong to the same gang.
He said the two groups of abductees were being kept close to each other in Kotonkoro forest in Niger State, but close Zamfara State, adding that security forces had cornered the bandits.