EducationSecurity

Kidnapped Bethel Baptist High School students regain freedom

THE abducted students of Bethel Baptist High School, Damishi, Kaduna State have regained their freedom.

This came after 20 days in captivity.

The chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State, Joseph Hayab, was quoted to have disclosed this on Sunday.

Am online media platform, The Cable, reported Hayab to have said this on Sunday.

A total of 121 students were abducted from their hostels by bandits on July 5.

“Hayab could not immediately confirm the number of students that were released,” TheCable stated.

The Nigerian Baptist Convention had approached some of its churches in order to raise the ransom demanded by bandits for the release of some students abducted from Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna State.

Recall that the bandits had on July 5, 2021, around 2am, stormed school located along the Kaduna-Kachia highway in the Chikun Local Government Area and made away with the students.

The proprietor, who is also the President, Kaduna Baptist Conference, Rev. Ishaya Jangado, disclosed that no fewer than 121 students were abducted by the bandits.

One of the students was later released by the bandits on health grounds.

After series of negotiations, the bandits who initially demanded N100m ransom reduced it to N60m.

On Wednesday the President of the NBC Revd. Israel Akanji, said although the convention was opposed to the payment of ransom for freedom, “we have been boxed in, we have been given no option but to look for ways to rescue the children.”

It was gathered that earlier on Wednesday, the convention had reached out to some churches in the fold for contribution towards freeing the schoolchildren.

A member of the church in Lagos State said his pastor had forwarded a WhatsApp message to one of the church’s platforms urging members to contribute to freeing the students.

The message reads:

“The latest situation as at this morning is that … so far … has been pulled together from different contributors… Please if we could have more from our people, it will help us. Thanks. We desire to close this deal by the end of the Sallah break in order to have the children back possibly by the weekend.”

The member said since Wednesday there had been efforts by members to help free the children.

He said, “I understand our members in selected churches are participating in the contribution.”

Another member also in Lagos said the children would be out by early next week, adding, “But I don’t know how much have been made.”

Akanji could not be reached as one of his aides, who picked his mobile phone said he was in a meeting.

The body’s Director of Publications, Reverend Ijaola Adelokoji, when contacted said, “I am not authorised to speak on the matter, but there will be a press conference to let everyone know the state of things.”

Police rescue two abducted students

Meanwhile, the Police in Kaduna State have rescued two of the students.

The police said its operatives rescued the two students in the Rijanna area along the Kaduna-Abuja highway.

Following the rescue of the two students, the number of students left in the kidnappers’ den is now 118.

Confirming the development,  the state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Mohammed Jalige, said the students had been taken to a medical facility.

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