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Four prisoners were allegedly swapped to secure the release of Kagara students

Sources familiar with the negotiations that helped to secure the release of staff and students of Government Science College Kagara in Niger State have told Daily Trust that four members of the bandits’ gang were allegedly freed to secure their release. 

Recall that 27 students, 3 teachers, two non-teaching staff and 9 family members of the staff were kidnapped by the bandits who launched an attack on February 17. They were however released in the early hours of Saturday February 27. 

The publication reported that reliable sources said the kidnappers who operate between Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State and Rafi Local Government in Niger State, had allegedly demanded the release of six members of their group arrested at different times by security agents. Four of the six named persons, were identified in different detention facilities in Katsina, Kaduna and Niger states.

One of the sources said on Saturday that “the process to perfect release of the other two was being concluded.”

Another source told Daily Trust that the bandits kept the victims deep in the forests, making it difficult to reach them with ease.

The source said; 

“One of the bandits used in reaching out to the group had to ride on motorcycle for nine hours to go and meet the Kachalla (leader) of the kidnappers. The Kachalla was persuaded to allow the victims to be set free even though not all the persons they wanted out from detention were released.

“Between the leader was and the location they hid the victims it was another long journey. It was therefore difficult even more for the abductees who had to trek for many hours to freedom.”

Niger state government however told reporters yesterday February 27, that no ransom was paid for the release of the affected persons. Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Muhammad Sani Idris also said there was no prisoner swap as strategies were deployed for the release of the students.

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