It was a joyous moment for parents of the 15 students of Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna on Sunday as they were reunited with their children kidnapped from their boarding school in the early hours of July 5, 2021.

Bandits broke into the school located at Damishi along the Kaduna – Kachia highway, Chikun Local Government Area and whisked away 121 students.

The kidnappers had released 28 of the students on Sunday July 25 after receiving N50 million ransom.

They later released few others on health ground while some escaped on their own.

Before release of the latest 15 students on Saturday night, 78 students were remaining with the bandits.

The bandits made fresh demand of N80 million ransom to release the remaining 78 students in captivity.

It was also gathered that ransom was paid for release of the 15 students.

Handling over the 15 freed and traumatised students to their parents at the Baptist Secretariat along Ahmadu Bello way on Sunday, President of Baptist Convention, Rev. Israel Akanji, said they expected the bandits to release all the remaining 78 students.

Akanji said: “We are grateful to God for the release of these 15 children. Although, the number is smaller than what we expected, because we had 78 out there; they have given us 15, that means 63 to come but in everything, God said, we should give thanks and we are grateful for what He has done.

“And we are trusting that, the same God will help us to receive the remaining 63. We have great hope in God and we will keep praying and keep asking God for help.

“We do not know why they did not release all the children; we were really expecting all the children, but these are the ones we have. So, we are giving thanks to God and we are trusting God that others too will come,” he said.

Akanji added: “Today, we rejoice over the release of our children. Our prayer is that our joy will be full and that the other children will be released to us very soon.

“What we are here to do today is to hand over the children back to their parents so that they can reunite.

“The last time when we brought them (the first batch of 28 students) straight from where they were released, their sight were not too pleasant.

“So, this time around when they came, we try to make them changed their clothes so that they will appear a little bit different.

“They have had some changes of their clothes and took their bath because they have not been able to do this for all of the time they have been there(kidnappers’ den) since July 5, 2021.

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“Today, we are glad that they have changed and they can be received by their parents. Please, keep praying for us so that the other ones will be released.”

Though the Baptist Convention President declined comment on the issue of ransom, a competent source told The Nation that ransom was paid.

The students were conveyed to the Baptist Secretariat in an 18-seater bus, few minutes after many of their patients were brought in in two similar vehicles.

The parents could not hide their joy as they sang praises and shed tears on sighting their children who spent 46 days in captivity of their kidnappers.

Though, they had been refreshed before being officially handed over to their parents, the students looked traumatic and sickly.

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