The Zamfara State Police Command in collaboration with the military has commenced a joint search and rescue operations with a view to rescuing the kidnapped 317 Zamfara students.
The girls, students of Government Girls Science Secondary School Jangebe in Talata Mafara LGA were abducted around 1:00 am on Friday.
The Commissioner of Police CP Abutu Yaro, the Force Commander Operations Hadarin Daji, Major General Aminu Bande, Brigade Commander 1 Brigade, Nigeria Army Gusau and other state government officials led a heavily armed Re-enforcement team to Jangebe to complement the ongoing rescue operation in the locations where the students were believed to have been taken to.
The CP while interfacing with the Principal of the school and the parents appealed to them to be calm as joint efforts of the Police and other security agencies will assuredly lead to the successful rescue of the students.
There was no immediate comment from the federal government and no claim of responsibility.
Analysts said the culprits were likely one of the heavily armed bandit groups that have become increasingly powerful across swaths of Nigeria’s northwest, and not the jihadist groups based in the northeast.
“Kidnapping for ransom is now the most thriving industry in Nigeria,” said Bulama Bukarti, a terrorism analyst and columnist with the Daily Trust, northern Nigeria’s most popular newspaper.
Nigerian officials are split between those who favor dialogue with the criminal groups seizing the schoolchildren and those who favor a zero tolerance approach.
President Muhammadu Buhari has quietly dropped his claim that the country’s insurgencies are technically defeated and conceded that the nation is in “a state of emergency.” The country, which has one of Africa’s strongest armies and is a strong U.S. counterterrorism ally, is struggling to contain multiple threats: a 10-year jihadist rebellion, and swelling banditry and lawlessness that have metastasized into a conflict of overlapping militant groups.
After months of criticism over rising insecurity across the country’s northern states, Mr. Buhari reluctantly agreed to reshuffle his military chiefs in January.
Shehu Sani, a former senator who studied in the town of Kagara as a boy, said the groups were targeting children because they yield the highest ransom payment.
“We are stuck in the most vicious cycle,” he said. “We need help to acquire new technologies to beat this—and to find the children these people have taken.”