Niger gov, Bello, wife jet out as assailants operate unhindered

Niger gov, Bello, wife jet out as assailants operate unhindered

Governor Abubakar Sani Bello and his wife have reportedly left the shores of Nigeria hours after unknown assailants abducted an unspecified number of children from an Islamic school in Tegina, Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.

Their destination is unknown but Bello was said to have jetted out on a security mission.

Bello's Chief Press Secretary, Mary Noel Berje, said he left the country to explore possibilities of strengthening the State's security architecture.

The statement further stated that the Governor was expected back soon but had given directives to security operatives and state government officials to ensure the safe return of the abducted Tegina Islamiyya pupils and others.

The statement reads in part:

"While assuring the parents of the abducted children of their safe return as the security agencies have been directed to do all it can to bring back the children as soon as possible, the Governor also urged the citizens to cooperate and share intelligence and information that will help in the quick rescue of the children."

Shortly after the governor's departure yesterday, bandits killed 13 persons and burnt down a police station, the NATION reports.

The attack took place in Beri and Kasanga towns in Mariga Local Government Area of the state.

One of the 13 persons killed was a riot policeman.

After a security meeting chaired by Deputy Governor Ahmed Mohammed Ketso, the government asserted that it will not pay ransom for anyone abducted but would rather negotiate with the abductors.

"We don't pay ransom to abductors. We are trying to negotiate to see how we can bring them back safely," he said.

Several persons criticised the governor for leaving the country as his state grappled with violence perpetrated by bandits.

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