By Nkasi Kolie
It was both a joyous and sober moment for the parents of abducted 121 students (males and females) of Bethel Baptist School, Damishi, Kaduna State, when they were reunited with 15 additional students freed by bandits over the weekend.
While the parents of the 15 children who were released were thanking God, others whose children are still with the bandits felt disappointed but expressed hope that God would intervene in freeing the remaining 63 students from captivity.
Bandits had broken into the school located at Damishi along the Kaduna – Kachia highway, Chikun Local Government Area of the state, in the early hours of July 5, and took away 121 boarding students from their hostels.
The kidnappers had released 28 of the students on Sunday, July 25, after receiving N50 million ransom and later released a few others on health grounds, while some escaped on their own, making it a total of 56 released so far .
The students, who were conveyed to the Baptist Secretariat in an 18-seater bus accompanied by their patients in two vehicles, could not hide their joy, as they sang praises in tears as they beheld their children after two months in captivity.
Handing the freed and traumatized students over to their parents at Kaduna Baptist Conference Secretariat, along Ahmadu Bello way ,on Sunday, President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Rev. Israel Akanji said, the parents and concerned stakeholders had expected the release of all the abducted students and not just 15.
“We are grateful to God for the release of these 15 children. Although, the number is smaller than what we expected, because we had 78 out there; they have given us 15, that means 63 are yet to come, but in everything, God said, we should give thanks and we are grateful for what He has done.
“And we are trusting that the same God will help us to receive the remaining 63. We have great hope in God and we will keep praying and keep asking God for help.
“We do not know why they did not release all the children. We were really expecting all the children. But, these are the ones we have. So, we are giving thanks to God and we are trusting God that others too will come,” he said.
The Nigerian Baptist Convention President however declined comments on the issue of ransom, but a credible source hinted a few millions was paid as ransom and quickly added that, “we pray they don’t make another fresh demands because we are already bankrupt”.