We know the bandits who kidnap schoolboys from Katsina, Boko Haram was not involved — Gov. Masari

In contrast to the argument of Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram, Bello Masari, governor of Katsina state, claims that the abduction of some students from the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, was “conducted and executed” by local bandits. Gunmen entered the school on December 11, firing into the air to scare away residents in the neighbourhood.Masari said over 300 students were reported missing as of December 13.On Tuesday, in a four-minute video, Shekau said the kidnapping of the Katsina schoolboys was carried out by Boko Haram, whose philosophy is against western education.

“What happened in Katsina was done to promote Islam and discourage un-Islamic practices as Western education is not the type of education permitted by Allah and his Holy Prophet,” Shekau had said in the video.

But speaking on Wednesday’s Channels Television programme, the governor disagreed with Shekau’s statements, recalling that details available to his administration indicated that local bandits carried out the abduction.

“The report we have and from the information available to us, this abduction was conducted and executed by local bandits that are known to all of us,” he said.

“These bandits that are roaming the forest of Zamfara and parts of Katsina state, so far, this is the information we have.”

The governor said there are “signs” that bandits are making contact with militant organisations when asked if there is a potential connection between the attackers and Boko Haram.

“I’m not absolutely discounting any foreign, either ISWAP or Boko Haram, indirectly working with the bandits,” Masari said.

“You know over one year, there were signs that some of the elements of the bandits are making contact with some of the elements of Boko Haram or ISWAP.”

However, Masari observed that the government was trying to figure out whether the bandits and terrorist groups had a relationship.

“With regards to this abduction, we have not seen yet any direct involvement of Boko Haram or ISWAP. However, we are watching the development,” the governor said.

“We are seeing through the evidence that we have; we are going through the tracking system that we have in place to find out if there is any linkage.”

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