There seems to be conflict over who rescued another set of 84 students in Katsina State, barely four days after about 344 students were recovered from kidnappers in the state.

Both the police and the military are claiming to have rescued the kidnap victims.

The police claimed that it rescued 84 Islamiyya school children from the hands of bandits in Mahuta village of Dandume Local Government Area of Katsina.

According to a statement released on Sunday by the state police spokesman, SP Gambo Isah, the students were accosted by bandits who had already kidnapped four persons and rustled 12 cows from Danbaure village in Funtua Local Government Area of the state, trying to escape into the forest.

According to the spokesman, following a distress call received on Saturday at about 10 pm, by the DPO of Dandume, that about 80 students of Hizburrahim Islamiyya, Mahuta village, were attacked while on their way back from Maulud (Mohammad’s birthday) celebrated at Unguwan Alkasim village, the DPO led Operation Puff Adder, Sharan Daji, and vigilante groups to the area and engaged the bandits in a fierce gun duel.

“Subsequently, the teams succeeded in dislodging the bandits and rescued all the 84 kidnapped victims and recovered all the twelve rustled cows. Search parties are still combing the area with a view of arresting the injured bandits and/or recovery of their dead bodies. The investigation is ongoing,” Isah said.

However, the coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, in a statement yesterday in Abuja said the kidnap attempt was foiled following distress calls by locals.

According to him, “Troops of Operation Hadarin Daji in collaboration with police and local vigilante deployed at Dandume LGA of Katsina State received a distress call at about 11:30 pm on 19 December 2020 from locals at Mahuta village that suspected bandits were moving with unconfirmed numbers of Islamiya children mostly girls and rustled cattle.

“The children were returning from Maulud program at Unguwar Al- Kasim village at Dandume.

“In reaction to the distress call, troops quickly mobilized to the scene, laid ambush and blocked bandits’ route along Daudawa-Kadisau and road Sheme Mairuwa and Unguwar Audu village.

Specifically, he said, while patiently waiting for the bandits at the ambush and blocking position, troops established contact with bandits and engaged them, adding that during the fierce battle, troops superior firepower forced bandits to abandon the children and the rustled cattle thereby forcing the bandits to flee in disarray into the forest.

“Troops thereafter searched the general area and rescued the 39 kidnapped girls in addition to the recovery of 8 rustled cattle. The victims have been reunited with their families while the recovered cattle handed to the owners.”

He noted that the troops had also dominated the general area with aggressive patrol to forestall further occurrence.

“The Military High Command commends the gallant troops and other security agencies for their sustained successes. Equally, the locals and vigilantes are hereby appreciated for the cooperation in tackling the insecurity in Katsina State,” he said.

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