15 PUPILS KIDNAPPED IN ABA
Gunmen suspected to be kidnappers on Monday morning hijacked a school bus conveying 15 pupils of Abayi International School, Osisioma, near Aba to their school and took them to an unknown destination. Daily Sun gathered that the driver of the school bus had gone out that morning to designated points as was the schedule to pick the pupils to school.
On getting to a spot at Ekeakpara, it was learnt that a Toyota Camry saloon car waylaid the school bus and ordered the driver at gunpoint to stop. It was also gathered that as the driver came down, the hoodlums collected his mobile phone set and ordered him to lie face down while they drove off with the pupils towards Etche in Rivers State.
Investigations revealed that most of the kidnapped school children were nursery and primary school pupils.
The kidnappers were said to have demanded N20 million ransom for the release of the kids.
When Daily Sun visited the school located in the outskirts of Aba, teachers and some parents of the abducted kids were seen in groups discussing the fate of the children even as one of them appealed to the abductors to release the children without further delay considering their tender ages.
When contacted, the principal of the school who would not disclose his name for fear of being attacked, although confirmed the incident, refused to give further details.
He said it was only the manager that could speak on the issue. But the manager said the matter was too sensitive to be discussed now. She, however, promised to speak after the release of the children.
Some people who spoke with Daily Sun condemned the high rate of kidnapping in the city.
While calling on the kidnappers to take the ages of the children into consideration and release them immediately, they called on government to do something urgent to arrest the situation.
Abia State Government had last week given kidnappers in the state a two-week ultimatum to surrender their weapons and be rehabilitated by government in an amnesty programme that appeared to mean nothing to some of the hoodlums. Since the ultimatum was issued, no day had passed without a reported case of kidnapping or violent crime in the commercial city.
In another incident, gunmen last Saturday killed two policemen at Umuafor Ukwu in Obingwa Local Government Area (where four journalists and their driver were kidnapped sometime ago). The policemen were said to be on patrol when they ran into the gunmen who opened fire, killing two of them instantly and reportedly burnt their Hilux van.