The Defence Headquarters says the troops of Operation Hadarin Daji, in conjunction with Nigeria Police and local vigilantes, on Saturday rescued 39 Islamiya students from bandits in Dandume Local Government Area of Katsina State.
However, the Police Public Relations Officer in Katsina State, Gambo Isah, had earlier said in a statement that the operatives rescued 80 abducted pupils of Hizburrahim Islamiyya and 12 cattle from bandits on Saturday night.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, in a statement on Sunday, nonetheless, said that the children were returning from Maulud programme at Unguwar Al-Kasim village when they were kidnapped.
Enenche said that the troops received a distress call at about 11:30 p.m. on Saturday from locals at Mahuta village that suspected bandits were moving with unconfirmed numbers 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.
“While patiently waiting for the bandits at the ambush and blocking positions, troops established contact with bandits and engaged them.
“During the fierce battle, the troops’ superior firepower forced the bandits to abandon the children and the rustled cattle, thereby forcing them 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,” he said.
Enenche said that the troops had dominated the general area with aggressive patrols to forestall further occurrence.
He said that 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.