The Defence Headquarters said on Sunday the troops of Operation Hadarin Daji rescued the abducted students of Hizburrahim Islamiyya School from bandits in Dandume local government area of Katsina State.
The Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major Gen. John Enenche, who disclosed this in a statement, however, said the operation was carried out in conjunction with the Nigeria Police Force and local vigilante on Saturday.
The Katsina State police command had earlier said in a statement that its operatives rescued 80 abducted students of the Islamiyya School and 12 cattle from bandits on Saturday night.
Enenche said the students were returning from Maulud programme at Unguwar Al-Kasim village when they were kidnapped by the bandits.
According to him, the troops received a distress call at about 11:30 p.m., on Saturday from locals at Mahuta village that suspected bandits were moving with unconfirmed numbers of Islamiya students who are mostly girls and rustled cattle.
He said the troops mobilised to the scene, laid ambush and blocked the bandits’ route along the road linking Daudawa-Kadisau, Sheme Mairuwa and Unguwar Audu village.
Enenche said: “The troops waited patiently for the bandits and blocked the position. They later established contact with bandits and engaged them.
During the fierce battle, troops’ superior firepower forced the bandits to abandon the children and the rustled cattle and fled into the forest.
“Troops thereafter, searched the general area, rescued the 39 kidnapped girls and recovered eight rustled cattle.
“The victims have been reunited with their families and the recovered cattle handed to the owners.”
He added that the troops had dominated the general area with aggressive patrol to forestall further occurrence.
He said the military high command commended the gallant troops and other security agencies for their efforts.
The defence spokesman also commended the people of Katsina and vigilantes for cooperating with the military in the ongoing efforts to rid the state of criminal elements.