The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, on Thursday, said the state government had planned to invade the hideouts bandits even if it meant losing some kidnapped students in the process.

According to Mr El-Rufai, that was the plan before the bandits released 29 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna State.

The governor disclosed this during a webinar organised by the Africa Leadership Group. PREMIUM TIMES obtained the video clip of the governor’s comments.

Mr El-Rufai was responding to a question on his policy of not negotiating with kidnappers and payment of ransom.

The governor said the loss of lives of kidnap victims would only be collateral damage and a price he would be willing to pay instead of paying ransom to the criminals.

“Two days after the abduction of the Afaka young people, I was assured by the air force and the army that they knew where the kidnappers were with the students and they had encircled [them],” the governor said.

“We were going to attack them. We would lose a few students but we would kill all the bandits and we would recover some of the students.

“That was our plan. That was the plan of the air force and the army… But they slipped through the cordon of the army. That is why they were not attacked.

“We know it is risky. We know in the process we may lose some of the abductees but it is a price we have to pay.

“This is war, there will always be collateral damage in war and we will rather do that than pay money because paying money has not solved the problem anywhere in the world,” he said.

This newspaper had reported how the remaining abducted 27 students of the college regained their freedom on Wednesday.

Controversial Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gummi, said he, alongside former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, brokered the negotiations to secure their release.

Parents of the students also paid millions of naira in exchange for their wards, this newspaper gathered.

However, the freed students are separate from the 16 students of Greenfield University, Kaduna, who have yet to be released with their abductors threatening mass killing if a ransom is not paid for them.

As of the time of filing this report, the state government is yet to respond to the threats of the abductors, 72 hours after the expiration of the ultimatum they gave.

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