Katsina State Governor, Bello Masari, has insisted that the missing students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, were abducted by local bandits, contrary to the claim of Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram.
KanyiDaily had reported how hundreds of GSS boarding students were abducted by gunmen on Friday night, December 11, 2020, less than 24 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari arrived Katsina for a week long private visit.
However on Tuesday, Boko Haram terrorist group claimed responsibility for the abduction, saying the action was carried out to ‘promote Islam and discourage un-Islamic practices’.
But speaking on a Channels Television programme on Wednesday, Governor Masari refuted the allegation that the students were kidnapped by Boko Haram.
The governor said that information available to his administration showed that the abduction was carried out by local bandits who they all knew.
“The report we have and from the information available to us, this abduction was conducted and executed by local bandits that are known to all of us,” he said.
“These bandits that are roaming the forest of Zamfara and parts of Katsina state, so far, this is the information we have.”
When asked if there is a possible link between the attackers and Boko Haram, the governor said there are “signs” that bandits are making contact with terrorist groups.
“I’m not absolutely discounting any foreign, either ISWAP or Boko Haram, indirectly working with the bandits,” Masari said.
“You know over one year, there were signs that some of the elements of the bandits are making contact with some of the elements of Boko Haram or ISWAP.”
Masari, however, noted that the government was working towards finding out if there is a relationship between the bandits and terrorist groups.
“With regards to this abduction, we have not seen yet any direct involvement of Boko Haram or ISWAP. However, we are watching the development,” the governor said.
“We are seeing through the evidence that we have; we are going through the tracking system that we have in place to find out if there is any linkage.”
Meanwhile, parents of the abducted students are keeping vigil at the school premises, waiting for their children’s return as as promised by Governor Masari.