The Defence Headquarters says the troops of Operation Hadarin Daji in conjunction with the Nigeria Police and local vigilante on Saturday rescued 39 students from bandits in Dandume Local Government Area of Katsina State.
The Public Relations Officer of the Katsina State Police Command, Gambo Isah, had earlier said in a statement that the police operatives and vigilantes rescued 80 abducted pupils of Hizburrahim Islamiyya and 12 cattle from bandits on Saturday night.
Also rescued, Isah said, were four other persons earlier abducted by the bandits.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, in a statement on Sunday, however, confirmed the position of the police that the children were returning from a Maulud programme at Unguwar Al-Kasim village when they were kidnapped.
Enenche said the troops received a distress call at about 11:30pm on Saturday from locals at Mahuta village that suspected bandits were moving with unconfirmed number of Islamiya children, mostly girls, and rustled cattle.
He said the troops mobilised to the scene, laid ambush and blocked bandits’ route along Daudawa-Kadisau Road and Sheme Mairuwa and Unguwar Audu village.
According to him, while patiently waiting for the bandits at the ambush and blocking position, troops established contact with the bandits and engaged them.
He said: “During the fierce battle, troops superior fire power forced bandits to abandon the children and the rustled cattle thereby forcing the bandits to flee in disarray into the forest.
“Troops thereafter, searched the general area and rescued the 39 kidnapped girls in addition to the recovery of eight rustled cattle.
“The victims have been reunited with their families while the recovered cattle handed to the owners.” Enenche said the troops had dominated the general area with aggressive patrol to forestall further occurrence.
He said the military high command had commended the gallant troops and other security agencies for their sustained successes. He also commended the locals and vigilantes for their cooperation in tackling the security challenges in the state.
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