President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the abduction of over 300 students from Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in Zamfara State as inhumane, totally unacceptable and sent out a strong warning to bandits and their sponsors.

Earlier on Friday, 317 students were kidnapped from the secondary school.

Read also: Buhari Appoints New Heads For Civil Defence And Correctional Service

Reacting in a statement on Friday evening, Pres. Buhari said the criminals should not mistake government’s restraint for “weakness”, adding that they are not too strong to be defeated.

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, Buhari said;
This administration will not succumb to blackmail by bandits who target innocent school students in the expectations of huge ransom payments

No criminal group can be too strong to be defeated by the government. The only thing standing between our security forces and the bandits are the rules of engagement.

We have the capacity to deploy massive force against the bandits in the villages where they operate, but our limitation is the fear of heavy casualties of innocent villagers and hostages who might be used as human shields by the bandits. Our primary objective is to get the hostages safe, alive and unharmed.

A hostage crisis is a complex situation that requires maximum patience in order to protect the victims from physical harm or even brutal death at the hands of their captors.

Let them not entertain any illusions that they are more powerful than the government. They shouldn’t mistake our restraint for the humanitarian goals of protecting innocent lives as a weakness or a sign of fear or irresolution.
The President appealed to state governments “to review their policy of rewarding bandits with money and vehicles, warning that the policy might boomerang disastrously.”

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