By Ismaila Chafe, Abuja; Zubairu Idris, Katsina, Dec. 12, 2020
President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the attack carried out by bandits’ at the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, charging the security agencies to go after the attackers to ensure that no student gets missing or harmed.
The president made the remarks in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Saturday.
He urged the school authorities to carry out an audit of the population of the students following shootings in and around the school that sent hundreds of them fleeing and scrambling over perimeter walls.
He also advised parents who rushed to evacuate their children and wards from the school to notify the school and police authorities in order to have a full account of the school population.
“I strongly condemn the cowardly bandits’ attack on innocent children at the Science School, Kankara.
”Our prayers are with the families of the students, the school authorities and the injured,” he added.
President Buhari pledged to continue to support the police and military in their struggle against terrorists and bandits.
The presidential aide further disclosed that the president had received briefings on the incident from Gov. Aminu Masari of Katsina state, as well as the Army Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai.
According to him, the military, supported by air power has located the bandits’ enclave at Zango/Paula forest in Kankara, and there have been exchange of fire in an ongoing operation.
”Police said so far, there has not been any reported students casualty.”
Shehu quoted the president to have directed the reinforcement of security of all schools in line with the safe schools policy of the administration.
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, has ordered the deployment of additional operational and investigative assets to support the ongoing search and rescue operations in Kankara and its environs in Katsina State.
The deployment, according to a statement by DCP Frank Mba, Force Public Relations Officer, “is sequel to the unfortunate attack on Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State by heavily armed men on 11th December, 2020 which left some of the students missing.
“The deployment, which includes personnel from the Police Tactical Squads and crack detectives from the Force Intelligence Bureau, will provide investigative support to the Katsina State Police Command. They are also to work in sync with the military and other law enforcement agents in coordinated efforts aimed at rescuing the students, hunting down the perpetrators and bringing them to book.
“Investigations so far reveal that one of the attackers was killed and a policeman injured during the attack. The exact number of students missing cannot be ascertained at the moment as massive operations including investigations, search and rescue exercise are still ongoing.”
The IGP, he further said, “has ordered the immediate review and strengthening of security arrangements around educational institutions in the Country.”
The Police Command in Katsina had, in a statement earlier, confirmed that gunmen attacked GSSS Kankara on Friday night but said that no student was killed.
The command’s Public Relations Officer SP Gambo Isah who announced this to newsmen on Saturday in Katsina, said:
“On Friday around 11:30 p.m., gunmen in their numbers, attacked the school with dangerous weapons.
“They began to shoot and engaged our men guarding the school in a duel.
“That gave some students an opportunity to jump over the fence and run into the town for safety.
“The gunmen also shot one of the security guards at the gate who is presently responding to treatment.
“The Divisional Police Office in Kankara quickly mobilised security personnel and moved to the area with Armoured Personnel Carrier and engaged the hoodlums in a gun duel, forcing the gunmen to retreat.
“More than 200 students who jumped over the school fence into the town to hide have returned,” he said.
Isah said that the police and school authority were working together to find out the exact number of students that have not returned.
“We cannot say that some students have been kidnapped because we believe they are still coming back from their hiding places,” he had said.