The release of the kidnapped students, teachers and family members of the Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State, could not have been possible if the terrorists did not negotiate for the exchange of four of their commanders who had earlier been arrested, according to a security expert who was privy to the rescue mission.
According to a report by Daily Trust, the expert who did not want his name in print for security reasons, said the victims were only released on Saturday after officials agreed to release four members of the terrorists gang.
“I can tell you that contrary to the Governor of Niger State who said the students and their teachers were released without payment of any ransom, I can tell you that apart from payment of ransom, four of the commanders of the bandits earlier arrested were exchanged before the students could be released.
“The Niger State Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Muhammad Sani Idris, also said there was no prisoner swap as strategies deployed for the release of the students, but that is not true either.
“The kidnappers, who operate between Birnin Gwari local government area in Kaduna State, and Rafi local government in Niger State, had demanded the release of six commanders of their group arrested at different times by security agents.
“Four of the six named persons, were identified in different detention facilities in Katsina, Kaduna and Niger states.
“One of the bandits used in reaching out to the group had to ride on a motorcycle for nine hours to go and meet the Kachalla (leader) of the kidnappers.
“The Kachalla was persuaded to allow the victims to be set free even though not all the persons they wanted out from detention were released.
“The process to perfect the release of the other two is being concluded and they would be released before Monday,” the security expert said.