Police reveal that 20 of the kidnappers were shot during rescue mission to release six Epe students

SECURITY officials who rescued the six abducted students of the Lagos Model College in Epe have revealed that 20 of their kidnappers were killed during the battle to free them while eight policemen and four civilian volunteers sustained injuries in the gunfight.


On May 25, the pupils were abducted from their school but were eventually freed yesterday after security forces stormed the camp in Aboto Creek in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State where they were being held. Lagos State police commissioner Fatai Owoseni disclosed that in addition, one civilian volunteer unfortunately died in the process of rescuing the students.


He added that a suspect, who attempted to capitalise on the situation to swindle the parents of the students by asking that they should bring s ransom to Abeokuta, was arrested and is currently in police custody. Mr Owoseni praised the southwest governors for demonstrating clear commitment to combat crime in the region, saying that the communiqué issued in Abeokuta with respect to creation of Joint Security Task Force for the region, is already yielding positive results.


Lagos State governor Akinwunmi Ambode hailed the successful rescue of the six kidnapped students and assured that the government would utilise the academic break to reinforce security in all schools, especially in the suburb and riverine areas to prevent a re-occurrence. He said he remained totally committed to ensuring the security of all residents especially students and would spare nothing to ensure that schools remain safe from all forms of crime and criminality.


Governor Ambode said: “The issue of security is a social contract that we have signed with the people of Lagos and we would ensure that we do not disappoint. As far as our schools are concerned, we are going back to the drawing board to secure our schools before the next academic session."


In addition, Governor Ambode, who commended the collaborative efforts by security agencies from Lagos and Ondo States, specially thanked the acting president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo for his interventions towards ensuring the safe rescue of the students. Presenting the rescued students to the media, he said they would be debriefed and taken through comprehensive medical tests so as to ensure that they recover from the trauma they might have passed through while in the custody of their abductors.


Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu also commended acting president Professor Osinbajo and Governor Ambode for working tirelessly on the matter, saying that the duo demonstrated uncommon interest in the whole process leading to the safe return of the students.


Governor Akeredolu said he never believed the kidnappers could be hibernating in Ondo creeks until he was told about a month ago during the National Economic Council meeting in Abuja by Professor Osinbajo and later Governor Ambode and then he immediately deployed his deputy Alfred Agboola who is from the riverine area of Ondo State, to take up the matter.


He said Mr Agboola immediately swung into action and worked with the Delta State deputy governor, as well as security agencies to ensure safe return of the students.  According to Governor Akeredolu, his Lagos State counterpart never took his eye off the ball while the students were in captivity.