IGP sends 2 helicopters to Zamfara to assist in rescue of kidnapped students

The deployment of the helicopters is in addition to the ground assets already deployed.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, condemns the abduction as 'barbaric and callous' [Presidency]

Gunmen kidnapped 317 students from Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in the Talata Mafara Local Government Area of the state in the early hours of Friday, just over a week after a similar abduction of 45 people from a school in Niger State.

Police spokesperson, Frank Mba, said in a statement on Friday evening that a coordinated search and rescue operation has already commenced.

The deployment of the helicopters is in addition to the ground assets already deployed from Operation Puff Adder II to combat banditry, kidnapping and other related crimes.

"The joint rescue operation is being carried out by the Police, the military, and other members of the law enforcement community with support from the State Government and other stakeholders," Mba said.

IGP Adamu condemned the abduction as 'barbaric and callous', and assured Nigerians that security forces won't relent until the students are reunited with their families.

He also called for calm, especially from Zamfara residents, and begged the public to provide useful information to assist in rescue efforts.

In a state address on Friday evening, Governor Bello Matawalle, ordered the closure of all boarding schools in the state due to security concerns.

The governor begged for unity of purpose so as to ensure that the students are rescued as soon as possible.

27 students and 15 others who were similarly abducted from the Government Science College, Kagara in Niger State on February 17 are yet to regain their freedom.

344 boys who were similarly abducted from a school in Kankara, Katsina State in December 2020 were released after a week.

The boys were initially transported across state lines to Zamfara where the government eventually negotiated their freedom.

The mastermind of that operation, Auwal Daudawa, was granted state pardon by Governor Matawalle weeks later, a continuation of his peace deals with violent armed groups in the state.

Despite criticism trailing his amnesty programme, the governor said on Friday he's convinced that he's made Zamfara safer by disarming violent criminals.

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