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‘We walked all night,’ says Nigeria abduction victim

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Usama, who escaped, narrates his ordeal after Boko Haram kidnapped over 300 college students

It was late Friday evening when Usama Aminu heard gunshots, at first considering that they had come from the close by city. As quickly as he and the opposite college students on the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara realised that there was a raid on the college, they scrambled out of their dormitory and scaled the college’s fence within the pandemonium.

The 17-year-old instructed AP concerning the assault on the college in Nigeria’s northern Katsina State wherein males armed with AK-47 rifles kidnapped greater than 300 college students from the boys’ college. The assault, claimed by Boko Haram, Nigeria’s jihadist rebels, has prompted an outcry within the West African nation in opposition to the federal government for not doing sufficient to cease assaults on faculties.

But Aminu was nonetheless not secure. “After we scaled the fence, we were hearing voices that we should come back.” The boys returned, “thinking they were police officers. Unknown to us it was the bandits. They then gathered us at a spot. That was when we realised they were bandits, wearing military uniform,” he mentioned. “We walked through the night in the bush, and at sunrise they found a place and asked us to sit down,” Aminu mentioned.

In response to the abductions, Nigeria launched a rescue operation wherein the police, the air power and the military tracked the abductors to their hideout within the Zango/Paula forest.

“When the bandits heard the sound of the helicopter hovering above they asked us to lay down under the large trees with our face to the ground,” Aminu mentioned. During their hike, Aminu mentioned they met younger boys of their teenagers, armed with weapons. He mentioned some had been youthful than him.

After darkish, the boy determined to recite passages from the Quran. It was then that he managed to slide away unnoticed into the evening and conceal in a mosque. A neighborhood resident finally discovered him coughing and provided him a change of garments in order that he might go away his college uniform behind, he mentioned. He returned residence at round 11 p.m. Sunday.

His father, Aminu Ma’le, instructed AP he was relieved however nonetheless anxious for the others. “I cannot celebrate alone because of the other boys still missing,” mentioned the daddy.

Katsina State governor Aminu Bello Masari mentioned that 17 boys have been rescued for the reason that assault, together with 15 by the army, one other by police and one boy discovered roaming within the forest who was introduced in by residents. Aminu was amongst these boys.

The college has greater than 800 college students, and tons of of others additionally managed to flee. But greater than 300 stay held by insurgents, who’re identified to make use of baby troopers.

The authorities and the attackers are negotiating for the liberty of the boys, in keeping with Garba Shehu, a spokesman for Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. Parents of the lacking college students collect on the college every day to anxiously await information of their sons.

To stop different college abductions, Katsina State shut down all its boarding faculties. The close by states of Zamfara, Jigiwa and Kano have additionally closed faculties as a precautionary measure.

Boko Haram kidnapped the schoolboys as a result of it believes Western schooling is un-Islamic, the rebels’ chief Abubakar Shekau mentioned in a video claiming accountability for the assault, in keeping with SITE Intelligence Group.

Residents of Katsina State plan to protest on Thursday, saying the federal government is just not doing sufficient to guard its youth.

Armed bandits have killed greater than 1,100 for the reason that starting of the yr in Nigeria’s northwest, in keeping with Amnesty International. For over 10 years, Boko Haram has engaged in a bloody marketing campaign to introduce strict Islamic rule in northern Nigeria. Thousands have been killed and over 1,000,000 folks have been displaced. Boko Haram has been primarily energetic in northeast Nigeria, however with the abductions from the college in Katsina State, there’s fear the insurgency is increasing to the northwest.

The abductions of the schoolboys is a daunting reminder of Boko Haram’s earlier assaults on faculties. In February 2014, 59 boys had been killed when the jihadists attacked the Federal Government College Buni Yadi in Yobe State.

In April 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped greater than 270 schoolgirls from a authorities boarding college in Chibok in northeastern Borno State. About 100 of these women are nonetheless lacking.

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