Terrorist group, Boko Haram, has on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the abduction of hundreds of school students in Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State.
This was disclosed in a video released on Tuesday, showing Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram, saying his group was responsible for the attack.
“I am Abubakar Shekau and our brothers are behind the kidnapping in Katsina.”
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It will be recalled that over 100 gunmen had invaded the school on motorcycles, and the governor of the state, Aminu Masari confirmed that over 300 students were kidnapped.
A number of boys were able to escape, but many were captured, split into groups and taken away, according to reports given by residents.
At least 333 students are still missing since the attack took place on Friday.
The attack was initially blamed on armed groups locally known as “bandits”, who are active in the unstable region where kidnappings for ransom are common.
The army said Monday it had located the hideout of the men, and that a military operation was under way.
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However, in the video, Shekau said the boys were abducted because the school was teaching its students things that could “destroy Islam”.
“What happened in Katsina was done to promote Islam and discourage un-Islamic practices as Western education is not the type of education permitted by Allah and his Holy Prophet,” he said in the four-minute long video.
“They are also not teaching what Allah and his Holy Prophet commanded. They are rather destroying Islam. It may be subtle, but Allah the Lord of the skies and earths knows whatever is hidden. May Allah promote Islam. May we die as Muslims.Advertisement
“In a nutshell, we are behind what happened in Katsina.”
Abdul Labaran, a spokesperson for Katsina government, however, had said “gunmen who abducted Kankara students have phoned a parent and told him to begin gathering ransom money and asked him to tell the military to desist from air surveillance of their hiding place or else”.
The military had said an operation to rescue the student was in progress.
There have been series of attacks, especially for the purpose of kidnapping in the region, but the abduction of the students will be the first claimed by Boko Haram.
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The insurgents are known for their decade-long attacks in the north-east which has killed thousands and left millions displaced.
The kidnappings occurred in the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, who condemned the attack and ordered security stepped up in schools, with those in Katsina state closed.
Despite announcing that the fight against Boko Haram is top priority, the security situation in northern Nigeria has deteriorated since Buhari was first elected in 2015.
Similar to the Katsina abduction, Boko Haram had invaded Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS), Chibok, Borno state in 2014 and kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls.
Over half of the girls are still yet to be found.