Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, says the 333 kidnapped students of Government Secondary School, Kankara, are still alive and currently in a forest in Zamfara State.
Masari stated this on the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation, saying, “They (kidnapped schoolboys) are in Zamfara forests, we have got the information.”
The governor also told Channels Television that efforts were on to ensure the safe return of the students back home.
He said negotiations were on with the suspected abductors through Miyetti Allah, to ensure the students’ release.
Masari denied the claim by Boko Haram that it was behind the abduction, insisting local bandits roaming Katsina and Zamfara forests were responsible for it (the abduction).
The governor said, “It is not true that two students died. I was in school on Saturday and interacted with some of the students who escaped. They did not say any student died.
“I also interacted with the two students who also escaped later; they did not tell me any of the abducted students died or were killed. The news of the death was speculative. The number of students we have yet to account for is 334, although some students have gone to their parents directly.
“We are discussing through the leadership of MACABAN, Miyetti Allah, with those suspected to have carried out the abduction, and I had a meeting with the Commissioner of Police and heads of security agencies two or three hours ago.”
He stressed that the state government would not pay ransom for the release of the students.