Feb. 19 (UPI) — Negotiations were underway Friday between Nigerian authorities and kidnappers who took 42 staffers and students Wednesday.
The armed attack on a boarding school Government Science College in Kagara in north-central Nigeria led to the death of one person. A similar attack in Kanakar in December led to 300 schoolboys being kidnapped before they were rescued.
Niger State Gov. Abubakar Sani-Bello said his government is at the final stage of negotiating to get those who were kidnapped released.
“At the moment, there is no additional information apart from the one we have at hand,” Sani-Bello said. “Our priority is to make sure we bring back the students safe, things are speculated or rumored, but we cannot work with these in situations like this.”
The kidnappers had demanded a ransom but the government initially refused to pay. Authorities said the attackers would only use the money to buy more weapons and increase their attacks.
During the investigation, Niger Police arrested Samaki Azozo, 15, a student at the Government Science School Izoma, in Gurara Local Government Area, on a charge he attempted to kidnap students.
Authorities said Azozo was suspected of posting a letter on the school’s notice board about an intention for kidnapping at the school. State Police Commissioner Adamu Usman said the boy claimed the letter was a ploy in hopes they would close the school for the day.
“We don’t want to be taken unawares; hence, the need for us to adopt a proactive security measure against any security threat,” Usman said. He said that the boy’s letter would be fully investigated.