Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

Dahiru Abdulahi’s 16 year-old daughter, and 20 other children from his extended family, went to school earlier this month, as they did every day, but then they didn’t come home.

Mr Abdulahi was working at the school in Kuriga in the north-west of Nigeria when armed men arrived on motorbikes, surrounded the children at assembly time and took them and their teacher away.

“A bandit ran after my daughter, she beat him with her elbow, but another bandit grabbed her hijab and took her to his motorbike,” he told the Africa Daily podcast.

The teacher, Abubakar Issa, died in captivity. It’s reported he was shot in the leg.

Mr Abdulahi described the panic which followed the abduction of more than 130 children:

Quote Message: “When they invaded the school they shot randomly. All the students, all the children running without knowing where they were going.

“When they invaded the school they shot randomly. All the students, all the children running without knowing where they were going.

Quote Message: All the parents come out en masse, seeking to know the direction their children were going. We felt disappointed. We cry and cry. All the parents, crying and crying, everywhere in the town.”

All the parents come out en masse, seeking to know the direction their children were going. We felt disappointed. We cry and cry. All the parents, crying and crying, everywhere in the town.”

What followed was more than a fortnight of waiting and praying.

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu took a tough line, saying there would be no ransom paid despite the kidnappers calling and demanding $690,000 (£548,000).

The government is desperate to stamp out kidnap-for-ransom, which has become lucrative for the so-called bandits who plague the country.

This month alone, there have been six mass abductions in the north of the country – with many including children.

But Mr Abdulahi and his community have been lucky.

Unlike after many kidnappings, on Sunday the parents finally had cause for celebration: video footage was released of all 137 children being bussed to safety and meeting senior government officials.

After seeing a photograph of his daughter shaking hands with the state governor on social media he celebrated that she was at least safe.

He also said that she will continue to go to school because she wants to become a doctor. “She will not be discouraged. I will assist her and guide her to further education,” he said.

By Joy

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