Twenty-eight students of Bethel Baptist School in Kaduna regained freedom from kidnappers on Saturday night, as negotiation by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and other stakeholders for the release of the remaining 87 continued with the armed bandits.
A woman and her children that were kidnapped from Kachia were also freed by the bandits the same night.
The 28 students were brought to the Bethel school premises to reunite with their parents. The students had been with bandits for 20 days.
Kaduna CAN Chairman, Rev. Joseph Hayab, said yesterday: “Twenty-eight of the Bethel Baptist School Students were released to us on Saturday night. Before now, six of them were released, making 34 of them that have been released. We have 87 of them that are still with the bandits. We are trusting God that something will be done and we will have a way out of the problem.”
Hayab, who was silent on the issue of ransom said: “We will not deny or confirm that ransom was paid. This is because their parents were involved. Let me explain to you why we don’t want to go into that. We still have 87 with them there. If we start talking about it, it will jeopardise our negotiation.”
The Convention is the umbrella body for Baptist congregations in the country.
Akanji said this after handing over the released children to their parents who thronged the school premises to pick their children.
“What we said when we came originally was that we, as a church, do not believe in ransom payment and we will not pay any ransom because it is not right to pay people who have done what is wrong in order for release the children,” he said when asked whether ransom was paid to secure the students’ release.
“The kidnappers did not just release the 28 students; they also released one woman and her children that were kidnapped from Kachia. We asked our driver to take her in a bus to Kachia, her village; so that we can attend to the students.”
▪︎Video courtesy of WhatsApp
▪︎Newsreport courtesy of The Guardian