The freed Afaka students
According to a report by The PUNCH, the Kaduna State Police Command on Thursday gave an insight into how social media report aided the escape of abductors of 37 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Bandits, in large numbers, had, on March 11, 2021, invaded the school premises along the Kaduna International Airport road opposite Nigeria’s foremost military university, Nigerian Defence Academy; and abducted the students.
The bandits reached out in viral video and demanded N500m ransom a few days after the abduction.
However, the students were finally released in batches after over 50 days in the bandits’ den following the intervention of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi.
The State Command Public Relations Officer, ASP Mohammed Jalige said on Thursday that, but for the viral audio on social media after arresting one of the suspects, the operatives of the command, acting on a tip-off, would have arrested more suspects in connection with the abduction of the students.
Jalige explained that after the social media audio reports, other suspects ran away. “Many of the suspects are at large now,” he said.
He confirmed that one of the suspects involved in the kidnap of the 37 students was undergoing investigation in the command, adding that once done with investigation, the suspect would be paraded and charged to court accordingly.
The Police spokesman said, “The suspect we arrested was not the only suspect we had wanted to arrest.
“He mentioned some names, but because of the social media (audio) that went viral, they have all ran away.
“So, far. I am only confirming to you that we have arrested the suspect and investigations are ongoing. As soon as we are done with investigation, we will let journalists know. We will issue a statement to that effect or we may parade him. Yes, a suspect has been arrested and he is currently undergoing investigation.”
Security operatives from the Intelligence Response Team of the Police Force were reported to have stormed the residence of one of the masterminds that carried out a series of abductions, including that of the 37 students of the college, fondly called ‘Afaka 37′, in March.
It was learnt that the suspect had newly relocated to the Asikolaye community, a suburb of Kaduna South Local Government Area to start a new life with his wife and stepchildren when he was apprehended.
The suspect, it was also gathered, had, earlier in their operation, killed his wife’s father and husband.
According to a source, the suspect confessed to killing the husband of his current wife and had adopted their children, adding that he also confessed to have taken part in the kidnap of the 37 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation that spent over 50 days in the bandits’ den.