Rampaging bandits yesterday attacked Greenfield University, Kaduna, killing a staff, kidnapping  23 students, demanding N800 million ransom to free them.

This is even as bandits got more daring, yesterday at Zazzaga community in Munya Local Government Area of Niger State, attacking a military camp where they set military vehicles ablaze and made away with a military vehicle.

Two persons, including a soldier and a civilian were also declared missing after the bandits left the scene.

In the Kaduna attack, the bandits killed a staff of Greenfield University, kidnapped another staff and some students on Tuesday night.

Greenfield University was established three years ago and located along the Kaduna-Abuja Highway in Chikun Local Government Area. 

Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, confirmed the attack.

Eye-witnesses said the gunmen stormed the university last night and started shooting sporadically, before taking some of the students away.

Locals said that the university with a student population of 40 does not have enough security on ground despite being located in one of the hotbeds of kidnapping, a situation they believe made it an easy target for the bandits.

A family member of one of the missing students said that the gunmen had demanded N800 million ransom before they will release the no fewer than 23 students and a staff of the institution.

“Negotiations are going on; the kidnappers have contacted some family members, asking for the payment of N800 million,” a cousin of one of the kidnapped students, Georgiana Stephen, said.

She said the abductors asked her family to pay N8 million ransom before they could secure the release of their sister from captivity.

According to Georgiana, the abducted 23 students were mainly girls, including six boys.

She said the kidnappers were subjecting the students to torture, saying unless the ransom was paid, all the students in captivity would be killed.

Recall that this is the second time students of a higher institution would be kidnapped in Kaduna. 

The first was at Federal College of Forestry and Mechanization, Afaka, where 39 students were abducted on March 12. So far only 10 of the students have regained freedom. 

The kidnappers are asking for N500 million ransom, which the Kaduna State Government has refused to pay.

Security operatives who took custody of the remaining students of the university had handed them over to the institution.

Confirming the attack yesterday, the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs in Kaduna State, Samuel Aruwan, said in a statement that on Tuesday night, the Ministry received distress calls of an attack by armed bandits on the Greenfield University, situated at Kasarami, off the Kaduna-Abuja Road in Chikun LGA.

According to him, troops of Operation Thunder Strike (OPTS) and other operatives swiftly moved to the location and the armed bandits retreated.

He said: “After search-and-rescue operations, a staff member of the university, Paul Ude Okafor, was confirmed to have been killed by the armed bandits, while a number of students were kidnapped.

“The security operatives took custody of the remaining students who have been handed over to the institution, as at noon today, Wednesday 21st April 2021.

“The actual number of students kidnapped is still being sought from the institution’s records,” he said.

“Troops and other security operatives are working in the general area, and the public will be informed of further developments.”

The Police Command in Kaduna State, further confirmed the attack by bandits on the university, saying the attack happened at about 8.35 pm on Tuesday.

 The Command Public Relations Officer, ASP Mohammed Jalige, said some of the students were abducted. 

According to him, security operatives had been deployed to the general area for search and rescue operation.

In Niger State, the invading bandits were engaged in a battle by the Joint Task Force and scores of them were reportedly killed. However, two people, a soldier and a civilian, were declared missing.

Besides the missing people, the surviving bandits were said to have escaped with one of the operational vehicles of the military after setting another ablaze.

Newsmen reliably gathered that the bandits who were about 60 in number and heavily armed, stormed the military base early in the morning, yesterday.

On arrival at the base around 4am on Wednesday, sources said the bandits grouped themselves into three to carry out their deadly act.

A group, it was gathered, laid ambush on the major road leading to the camp to forestall any likely intruders, while the other went to the village to guard against any intrusion by the villagers, especially the vigilante. 

The third group was said to have made straight for the military camp to unleash terror.

Just three weeks ago, bandits invaded the Joint Security Task Force in Allawa and Basa in Shiroro Local Government Area of the state, killing five soldiers and a mobile policeman.

The military camp is located at the Junior Secondary School about 500 metres from the town and it has been in existence since 2012 when terrorism in the area escalated.

A source from the village said the gun battle between the two groups lasted for about two hours after which many of the bandits were killed.

“The bandits re-mobilized and stormed the camp after the gun battle and set one of the military vehicles on fire and went away with another.

“They also set the food store in the camp on fire. The military fought them to a stand still and I think the bandits might have used the military vehicle to evacuate the injured ones and possibly some dead ones among them,” the source said.

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