By Onwuka Gerald
Following the abduction of over 300 students from Government Science School, Kankara in Katsina state by Boko Haram insurgents, security and local sources on Wednesday, revealed that three local gangs led by Awwalun Daudawa were recruited by Boko Haram to abduct the students.
Few days after the attack, Islamist group claimed responsibility for the attack that saw them cart away outstanding number of schoolboys.
Meanwhile sources told the AFP that the operation was carried out on Boko Haram’s directives by a notorious local criminal called, Awwalun Daudawa.
The sources said the 43-year-old Daudawa worked with two other crime groups, Idi Minorti and Dankarami in carrying out the operation in Government Science School in Kankara, Katsina.
Experts had cautioned of attempts by jihadists to forge alliance with bandits that have so far wreaked havoc on communities and has led to loss lives and properties in the Northeast.
A security source revealed that Daudawa was previously an armed robber and a cattle rustler, before venturing into gun-running, as well as importing weapons from Libya, where he received training, and sell the weapons to bandits.
“Subsequently, Daudawa forged an alliance with Boko Haram and became their main gunrunner. What he normally does is he carries weapons the group takes from the Nigerian security forces in raids and ambushes and sell to bandits”, the source continued.
Continuing, the source stated that Awwalun Daudawa was seen in the forest, close to Kankara area where he recently relocated.
Reports even came that he was planning something big.
“Awwalun Daudawa was ordered by Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau to kidnap the schoolboys and he demanded the help of Idi Minorti and Dankarami”, said another source with bandits activities in Katsina and Zamfara states respectively.
He continued that, “After the children were abducted, they were taken across the border into Zamfara state; they divided the schoolboys among different gangs for safekeeping. Some of the gangs however, have been in touch with the authorities for the release of the boys.”
The Kankara attack happened hundreds of kilometres away from Boko Haram’s stronghold in northeast Nigeria.
After the attack, Boko Haram in a four-minute audio, sent to AFP through the same channel as previously used by the group, claimed responsibility for the kidnap of the schoolboys.
The voice in the recording said, “I am Abubakar Shekau and our brothers are behind the kidnapping in Katsina”.
Abubakar Shekau in 2014 was responsible for the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok.
Another source revealed that “There is an ongoing peace pact between bandits and Zamfara state government, in which the bandits don’t want to breach, adding that the bandits have been under intense pressure to release the school boys.
He said, “The Kankara abduction is different from that of Chibok who were directly in Boko Haram’s keep. This time, the bandits who are holding the children are in charge and not Shekau”.
Meanwhile, the Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari, had on Monday said the kidnappers have made contacts with the government”.
Masari on Twitter said negotiations are ongoing to ensure safe return of the schoolboys to their respective families”.
Furthermore, it remains unclear the actual figure of number of students carted by Boko Haram; as two accounts by officials, revealed that the number remains unclear, 320 or 333. Locals in Kankara on their part said over 500 was abducted.