Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, on Tuesday, stated the role he played in the release of 344 students abducted from Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Katsina State.
Gunmen on motorcycles had attacked the school on December 11 and abducted the students a few hours after the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), arrived in Katsina for a week-long private visit.
Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, however, announced the release of the 344 schoolboys six days after their abduction by bandits. The students were freed at a forest in Zamfara State.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, Matawalle said the Kankara schoolboys were released in his state before they were moved to Katsina.
He said repentant bandits were contacted, who in turn, played a major role in the negotiations and the eventual release of the boys.
He said, “As soon as the (Kankara) boys were kidnapped, we stepped in. We reached out to repentant bandits in the state. Negotiations were made and that was how they were released. The boys were released in Zamfara before they were moved to Katsina.”
It was earlier reported that the presidency said on Tuesday that the Zamfara State governor initiated talks with repentant bandits whom it also claimed played a role in the release of the students.
Matawalle further said the state has been much safer since he assumed office in May 2019.
“Ever since I assumed power as the Executive Governor of Zamfara State, my priority has been on how to secure Zamfara State from its immediate past position of being ‘the most dangerous state to visit or leave’ due to the waves of attacks, killings, maiming, kidnappings, cattle rustling as well as the vandalisation of public property and assets that bedevilled the state,” he stated.