There are strong indications that a disagreement among bandits in Niger State is the cause of the delay in the release of the 27 students and 15 workers of Government Science College, Kagara, who were abducted last Wednesday.
A top government source, speaking in confidence, said the bandits, who carried out the abduction, were not in agreement with the warlord with whom government had earlier negotiated.
Earlier in the day, Sunday, officials of the Niger State and security sources said, the abductees had been released and were on their way to Minna, the state capital.
However, the state Governor, Sani Bello, said the abductees were still in captivity.
The government source stated, “There is a division among the bandits. Those who carried out the abduction are being persuaded to release the abductees.”
Also, a prominent Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, who was involved in the negotiation for the release of the abductees, explained the delay in releasing them, saying that talks were ongoing between the various factions of the bandit group.
“I am sure they will be released. I am very sure of that. But we cannot say the particular day . We have lost contact with those people since we left there. But we hope that they will be convinced since they want peace and they are aspiring for it. I believe it will work out”, the Sheikh said.
“They are negotiating among themselves – the good and the bad. They are trying to convince them, and I believe they will do it”, he stated.