The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has sent more police officials to Katsina State where an attack on a secondary school by gunmen has left scores missing with many feared abducted.
These additional “operational and investigative assets” are to support the ongoing search and rescue operations following the attack.
“The deployment is sequel to the unfortunate attack on Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State by heavily armed men on 11th December 2020 which left some of the students missing,” a statement by the Police Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said.
Among additional officials sent to the state are personnel from the Police Tactical Squads and crack detectives from the Force Intelligence Bureau.
They will provide investigative support to the Katsina State Police Command.
“They are also to work in sync with the military and other law enforcement agents in coordinated efforts aimed at rescuing the students, hunting down the perpetrators, and bringing them to book,” Mba added.
Gunmen had stormed the boarding secondary school late on Friday night, causing students, teachers, and staff members to flee for their lives. In the process, many were feared abducted.
According to the police, investigations so far reveal that one of the attackers was killed and a policeman injured during the attack.
“The exact number of students missing cannot be ascertained at the moment as massive operations including investigations, search and rescue exercise are still ongoing,” Mba said.
The attack has drawn condemnation from many including President Muhammadu Buhari who has directed the reinforcement of security of all schools in reaction, and in line with the safe schools policy of the administration.
“I strongly condemn the cowardly bandits’ attack on innocent children at the Science School, Kankara,” the President said, as quoted in a statement released by spokesman Garba Shehu.
“Our prayers are with the families of the students, the school authorities, and the injured.”
Shehu, in his statement, said the military has located the bandits’ location and are in the process of retrieving the abducted students.
“In the latest briefing received by the President from Governor Aminu Bello Masari, with whom he has been in touch, and the Army Chief of Staff, General Tukur Buratai, the military, supported by airpower has located the bandits’ enclave at Zango/Paula forest in Kankara and there has been exchange of fire in an ongoing operation,” the statement read in part.
Governor Masari who visited the school on Saturday morning said no one can yet ascertain the number of students who were kidnapped in the attack.
A member of staff said there were 884 students in the school at the time of the attack. At the time the governor visited the school, he told reporters that 426 students had been counted safe.
The governor appealed for understanding and prayers and promised that all efforts will be made to bring their kids back safely and protect lives.
“This incidence has gone beyond imagination,” the Governor said in Hausa. “For us, it’s highly worrisome and disturbing; I am assuring parents and guardians of these children that – we couldn’t say that we are more disturbed than them – but to rest assured that we share the same worry with them. Because we know that we have the responsibility to protect their lives and their health.”