NIGERIAN military commanders have been accused by the Northern Youths Movement (NYM) of being complicit on the abduction of over 300 students of Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS) Jangebe in Zamfara State this week.
Yesterday, the pupils were found to have been missing from their boarding school in Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State. It is believed that armed bandits, who now operate freely in the state and regularly kidnap victims for large ransom payments are behind the abduction.
One eyewitness said: “They broke the school gate and shot at the security man. Then they moved into the hostels and woke up the girls, telling them it was time for prayers and after gathering all of them, the girls were crying and they took them away to the forest.”
Responding to the crisis, the NYM has called for the removal of the national security adviser General Babagana Monguno, saying it was impossible for bandits to have attacked the school, which is located less than 100 metres from a military checkpoint and abduct over 300 schoolgirls successfully. NYM chairman, Mallam Ishaya Jato, said it was becoming obvious that the military authorities will not want banditry in the northwest and Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast to end because of benefits being derived from it.
Apparently, at about 11pm on Thursday, soldiers stormed Jangebe, ordering all the residents to return to their houses immediately. These same soldiers, who stormed the town, however, were nowhere to be found when the bandits invaded the town at about 1pm, two hours after the military men left.
Also, there is a military checkpoint located not more than 100 metres from the school, the NYM is asking where these soldiers were when 100 armed bandits struck. Mallam Jato said: “The questions are where were the soldiers who stormed Jangede at about 11pm on Thursday when the bandits invaded the town two hours later? Why was it that there was no response from the soldiers stationed less than 100 metres to the school?
“For what reason did the soldiers order residents of Jangede to return to their houses at about 11pm? Were they aware of the bandits’ invasion? Why was it that it was a distance of 400 metres from the school that a police officer, Sergeant Hamza Sulaiman was killed?
“We are also aware of the request for the release of $1bn by the national security adviser General Babagana Monguno. This is apart from the $1bn taken from the excess crude account in 2017 and budgetary allocation for the military in the 2021 budget.
“It is on record that one of the governors that opposed this demand was Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State. This latest attack therefore appears to us as an orchestrated effort to drive home that demand for $1bn, which Governor Matawalle opposed.
“To us, it appears that efforts to end banditry in the northwest through dialogue and engagement are being frustrated by the military authorities because of the money being made. It has gotten to a point when well-meaning individuals and groups from the north should speak out and put a permanent end to killings and kidnappings in our land.”