The abductors of 27 schoolchildren, 3 staff, and 12 family members at Government Science College (GSC), Kagara in Niger State have threatened to starve them to death if their ransom demands were not met.
Popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, who has been involved in efforts to free the victims, made available an audio recording of one of the abductors issuing the threat on Wednesday, The Punch reported.
The audio recording was said to have been of one of the bandits negotiating with a top official of the school.
According to the conversation conducted in Hausa language, the bandit rejected the sum of N2.7 million ransom offered for the release of the 27 students.
“I don’t have food for them. If anybody dies among them, we will tell you where to go and pick the corpse.
“You know these children are hungry. I don’t have food to give them, only water if they are going to die, let them die,” the bandit said.
The negotiator however said it was difficult for him to get the telephone numbers of the parents of the abductees as requested by the abductors.
Responding, the bandit explained that despite heavy deployment of security forces in Kagara, they would not succeed in rescuing the victims.
The bandits said they would be difficult to catch because of a network of informants giving them information on the movement of the security forces.
“You think I don’t know what you people are doing? I can tell you how many security vehicles are in Kagara as we speak.
“It is with the help of the people of the city that intruders can overrun the city. Don’t you know that? The person who gave us this business is there among you. He is there with you. Wherever you go, he is watching you. If you want to do this deal, go ahead. From God we come and to him we will return
“Even if you put together the entire security forces of Nigeria in Kagara, I have eyes all over Kagara. Whichever step you take in Nigeria, I swear, I will know. You people are saying they should not pay us, that if they pay us, we will use to money to buy weapons. With whose money did we buy our weapons? If we don’t have weapons, you will just send security agents to kill us and take the children,” the bandit said.
The negotiator then informed the bandit that the parents of the abducted children have raised N2.7 million, amounting to N100,000 per student.
However, the bandit rejected the offer, saying that, “If I want Kagara to be in peace, it will be in peace. If it is not going to be in peace, it will go in pieces from here until Ilorin. If I die in this process, I have children that I have instructed that if I die that I don’t want Kagara to be peaceful if you don’t do as I say. Even if I die, nobody will come into Kagara.”
He further berated the governors that have advised against paying ransom to the bandits.
“Governors are saying we should not be given money because we are going to use it to buy guns; guns that Allah provides and you are boasting about.
“In all of your (Niger State) madness, you are not up to Zamfara. It was compelled to accept our terms and talk less of small fries like you. You see, if you want to seek peace, seek peace and if you don’t stop the activities of vigilantes in Niger you will not know peace forever.
“Your deploying security officials in Kagara is a waste of time. Is there a fence in this forest? You know we are not in the cities, we are in the forest,” the bandit boasted.