13 Zamfara University Students, Corps Members Still in Bandits' Captivity on Christmas Day

13 Zamfara University Students, Corps Members Still in Bandits’ Captivity on Christmas Day

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While the world marks Christmas Day, 11 out of the 24 students from the Federal University Gusau in Zamfara State, who were abducted by bandits on September 20, remain in captivity. Additionally, two corps members kidnapped on August 29, 2023, en route to the National Youth Service Corps Permanent Orientation Camp in Sokoto, have yet to regain their freedom, spending 128 days in captivity.

Bandits attacked the off-campus hostels of FUGUS on September 20, 2023, abducting 24 female students. Despite military engagement during the abduction, which led to the rescue of 13 students three days later, the remaining 11 students, all females, continue to be held captive. The affected students and corps members face the possibility of spending Christmas Day in the forest.

During the recent matriculation of new students, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Muazu Abubakar, prayed for the quick release of the abducted students and advised new students to be extra vigilant and security-conscious.

Efforts by parents to draw attention to their children’s plight resulted in a peaceful demonstration at the Gusau Government House gate. Parents from various states blocked the Government House main gate to appeal to both the federal and Zamfara State governments for action.

The Vice-Chancellor assured the parents that the university authorities were doing their best to rescue the abducted students. Responding to the demonstration, the Zamfara State Commissioner for Information, Munnir Haidara, stated that the state government, under Governor Dauda Lawal, was taking necessary measures to rescue the students and sympathized with the affected families.

Meanwhile, the NYSC has faced challenges, with eight prospective corps members kidnapped in Zamfara while en route to the orientation camp. Six of them have been released, but two remain in captivity. Records show that a total of 61 corps members have been kidnapped in the past eight years, with 18 incidents occurring between March 2022 and August 2023.

The Director-General of the NYSC, Brig. Gen. Yusha’u Ahmed, has emphasized improving the security and welfare of corps members and staff as part of the organization’s policy thrusts. As of the report’s filing, the NYSC had not provided details on attempts to rescue the remaining abducted corps members before the New Year.

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