Terrorists Using Abducted Kaduna Students As Human Shields – DHQ

The Defence Headquarters has said terrorists are using 287 students kidnapped in Kaduna State as human shields to prevent further air and land offensive against them.

The Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Edward Buba, made this revelation during a press conference on Thursday in Abuja.

Buba said following the depletion of several terrorist gangs in troop offensives, the terrorists may also be planning on recruiting new foot soldiers hence the abduction of young students and children

He said: “We have depleted their ranks and neutralized many of their commanders and foot soldiers. The terrorists exhibited gross cowardice by going after children.

“We have taken their Commanders out. We recently acquired new air platforms to further decimate them. They know we mean business. It is to protect themselves that they went after the students. But we will not rest until all the kidnapped victims are rescued”.

Buba, however, stated that it took more than six hours after the students were abducted for the information to get to security agencies before machinery was commenced for the rescue efforts.

The DHQ spokesman stated that the gunmen should only be addressed as terrorists and not bandits, adding that several of their leaders and commanders have been neutralised as a result of the troops’ onslaught.

He said, “As in every war, there are complexities, and ours is no exception. Recently, cases of citizens being abducted in the North East, North West and North Central theatres of operations were recorded.

“These citizens were abducted by a brutal and blood-thirsty group that should only be addressed as terrorists, not bandits. I repeat these are terrorists and not bandits.

“They are holding these citizens against their will and against all norms of human behaviour, and against the laws of armed conflict and any good measure in the world.

“Several of their leaders and commanders have been neutralised as a result of troops onslaught. They want to use these hostages as human shields for their survival. Nevertheless, be assured that we will not rest until the hostages are returned.

“No doubt, this is a difficult situation, but not one that is insurmountable. “The hostage situation is extremely sensitive and, unfortunately, not unprecedented in the history of the ongoing war.

“These hostages are being held in locations that are difficult to get to, but not out of reach. The situation is, however, indicative of the desperation of these terrorists to avoid troops onslaught by all means.

“Recall that in recent times, troops have decimated several of the terrorist’s leaders, commanders and foot soldiers and are fast closing in on several others.

“These terrorists have exhibited cowardice by going for such soft targets to impede troops’ advances. I assure you that we will not rest until they are returned.

“Given the hostage situation, it can be deduced that the search and rescue effort was grossly affected by the none timely notification of troops of the incident. Nevertheless, I can assure you that we will not rest until these hostages are returned.

“However,because of the sensitivity of the matter, I can not discuss the signs of life, location, and different options that we have to get these hostages back.

“Let me further assure you that getting these hostages back is very clearly at the top of our priorities. It is for this reason we have leveraged our international partners for support.

“Accordingly, they are providing the necessary support, including intelligence, which is giving us an advantage in dealing with the ugly situation.”

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