THE National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, on Monday, said the President Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government has so far rescued over 1,000 kidnap victims without paying a ransom.

Ribadu said this when he received 22 students and staff of the Federal University of Gusau, Zamfara State, rescued on Sunday.

The bandits had, on September 22, 2023, invaded the institution and abducted over 30 students and members of staff.

The Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Mani Mummuni, who was at the university to sympathise with the families and the school authorities over the incident, called on security agencies to hasten the rescue of the kidnapped students.

In a press statement, the spokesperson for the Zamfara State Police Command, Yazid Abubakar, assured that the command would ensure the rescue of all the kidnapped students, as it had deployed an additional tactical team for search-and-rescue operations.

The police noted that “On September 22, 2023, at about 0250hrs, suspected bandits, riding on about 50 motorcycles, armed with sophisticated weapons, invaded three students’ rented apartments in Sabon Gida Village near the Federal University, Gusau and kidnapped an unspecified number of students, taking them to an unknown destination.”

Seven of the students were rescued while two escaped, leaving 22 others in captivity.

On Sunday, the 22, comprising 15 students and seven workers of the university, were rescued in an exercise coordinated by the National Counter-Terrorism Centre.

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Speaking while receiving the students in Abuja, the NSA appreciated the security operatives for rescuing the students “without losing anyone of them or paying any ransom.”

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He said, “On behalf of the President, I thank all those involved in the successful rescue of the victims without losing anyone of them or paying any ransom.

“This is yet again a success story in our efforts to free all those being unlawfully held in captivity.

“We have so far released over a thousand such victims without noise and with complete respect to their privacy and safety.

“This occasion marks a final juncture in a series of rescues we have undertaken in the last few months, to free victims of recent cases of mass abductions.

“Going forward, we are strengthening law enforcement and security measures to prevent these abductions and strengthen physical security across vulnerable communities.”

Ribadu urged the students and university workers not to allow their experience to break them, but should rather make them stronger.”

In March, the military rescued 137 students kidnapped from Kaduna State, with the Federal Government saying no ransom was paid, despite that the bandits demanded N1bn.

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The NSA also thanked the parents of the rescued victims for their patience and understanding during the period and commended security agencies for their sacrifices.

Earlier, the National Coordinator, NCTC, Maj-Gen Adamu Laka (retd.), said search and rescue operations conducted by security agencies led to the release of the students in three batches.

He said, “Search and rescue was conducted by a combined team of law enforcement agencies and the abductees were subsequently released in three batches, after 207 days in captivity.

“The first batch was rescued on March 15 the second batch was rescued on April 12 and the last batch rescued on April 14.

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“All the abductees were profiled at NCTC while the ONSA Medical Team examined them and administered minor treatments on the bruises sustained by three of them.

“Four of them were diagnosed with malaria and are being treated. None of the females was molested and all the females tested negative for pregnancy test.”