Anxiety mounts as abductors of 136 abducted Islamic school children in Tegina Rafi local government area of Niger are allegedly demanding another ransom fee of N20m from parents of victims.
The parents had contributed and paid on two occasions to the tune of N55M ransom, the bandits on Friday demanded six Honda motorcycles which they are at the moment struggling to raise the N3m required to purchase them.
Meanwhile, the kidnapped children have turned two months at the hands of the bandits since the 30th of July.
But, reports on Sunday said the bandits now want N20M, aside from the motorcycles even as the parents are going around begging for help within and outside the state.
A source close to the parents, who confirmed the latest development, said the families of victims are at a loss as to what to do next, especially with feelers that some of the children have died.
“The parents are very, very worried now especially, hearing that some of the children have died. Kassimu Tegina that delivered the second ransom of N30M didn’t meet with the children because he was not taken to the actual place where they are being held hostage. We don’t know where the children are but, we learnt that they are in Zamfara State forest”
“They have sold all that they have with the hope of rescuing their children but, all appears not to have worked out. And the government is not doing anything to help them. It left them to their fate,” our sources said.
“They have already paid the sum of N55M and struggling to raise money to buy the six motorcycles only for the bandits to place additional demand of N20M. Some of them just came back from Sokoto State where they went to seek help and could not raise the money. How are these parents going to come out of this increasing challenge, ” the source stated.
Despite the turn of events, the state government through its Secretary, Ahmed Matane has maintained its decision of no payment of ransom to bandits.
Though, the government said it knows the location where the (pupils) are; there is no practical action in terms of security by the government to rescue the children at the moment as it keeps sealed lips on the current turn of events.
“We know the location where the pupils are; we do not want to apply force. We are very careful of any situation; we do not want to hurt the children while resorting to military action. We taking time to evaluate ongoing negotiations with the bandits in order to prevent collateral damage.,” according to the SSG.