Three more pupils from those abducted on May 30, at the Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School, Tegina, Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State, have reportedly died while in their abductors den.
According to the Chief Imam of the Tegina Central Mosque who disclosed this to newsmen on Saturday, the kidnappers have also given parents of the pupils a fresh seven-day ultimatum to meet up with their ransom demands, or the rest of the children will be executed.
The Chief Imam added that it was the bandits who have been in constant communication with the school’s headmaster, Alhaji Abubakar Alhassan, who told them of the death of the pupils who were all females and had been sick for a while.
“The headmaster of the school, Alhaji Abubakar Alhassan, was called by the bandits on Saturday to break the news that three of our children in their custody, all of them girls, have died.
“They said the children were sick and many others are also sick because they don’t have access to medical care.
“The bandits have also given us one week to come up with the balance of the ransom they are demanding or they will kill the remaining children.
“We are very sad at the development and we are begging the government to intervene. We are poor people and have taxed ourselves so much to raise N30m but they are insisting on collecting N50m and 10 brand new motorcycles,” the Chief Imam lamented.
He added that the kidnappers said the dead children have been buried and that they would send videos to their parents to confirm what they were talking about.
But the Niger State government has denied any knowledge of the latest development as the bandits could be using it as a ploy to intimidate the parents into coming up with the balance of the ransom quickly.
Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Ahmed Matane, who spoke on behalf of the government, said he was not aware of the death of the pupils.
“I’m not aware that three of the girls have died. You know the bandits can be very deceptive. They raise a lot of emotions and sentiments so that we will accept their bidding.”