Barely a week after the Presidency, the Zamfara State Governor, Bello Mattawale, and his counterpart, Aminu Masari, and the military had all claimed that ‘no penny’ was paid as ransom for the release of the Kankara Schoolboys, a news report by The Wall Street Journal, an American Publication proved otherwise.
According to PUNCH, some students of the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Katsina State have revealed that their abductors told them that N30 million was paid to them as an initial payment as an initial ransom as against their total demand of N344 million or N1million person.
Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, a United States publication, in an interview, three of the schoolboys claimed over N30m was paid, adding that the figure could be more.
Also, they told the newspaper about the maltreatment they received from the bandits, saying they were beaten and dehumanised. Imran Yakubu, who is 17, said one of the kidnappers said, “N1m must be paid for each student…or we will recruit or kill you.
‘A large sum of money was paid as ransom’, someone familiar with the negotiations, told the Wall Street Journal. He also said that ransom was transferred in three tranches.
One of the schoolboys, identified as 16-year-old Yinusa Idris, told the WSJ that kidnappers told them they were initially paid N30m but decided not to release the boys because they had demanded N344m.
“They threatened to release only 30 of us when the N30m initial ransom was paid. They even took 30 of us away on motorcycles ready to release us,” Idris said.
They were seldom allowed rest and slept on rocky ground. Eight of the freed students, boys as young as 13, were forced to eat raw potatoes and bitter kalgo leaves to survive, according to the Wall Street Journal.
According to the WSJ, on December 16, the bandits threatened to abduct the boys again if they returned to school.
“There were more than 100 armed men in the school courtyard. They were shining bright flashlights and streaming into the pastel-colored buildings. ‘Gather here. We are soldiers,’ they said.
“The gunmen, some on foot, others on motorcycles, ordered the boys to walk in a long column, hitting anyone who walked too slowly with a whip or rifle butt.
“At one point, when the guards were looking at the sky, two students close to the back of the convoy tried to slip away. The hostages were all told to halt so they could watch their classmates being punished.”
“The older one’s hands were tied to a tree and he was beaten. Water was poured on his body in the early morning so that he could feel the freezing cold,” one of the students narrated.
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