Abductors of 136 pupils of Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School Tegina in Niger State have given indication that four of the pupils are dead.
LEADERSHIP gathered at the weekend that the courier of the ransom Kassimu Daragana who arrived Tegina at the weekend reported that the bandits took him to four graves they purportedly buried the dead pupils.
A parent who preferred anonymity told LEADERSHIP that "Kassimu did not see the pupils but he was told that the children were separated into different camps and he was shown four graves where four of the pupils who died were buried."
According to another parent, "We are apprehensive now, we are agitated more than ever but the worst thing is that they have at the weekend demanded N20million plus six motorcycles."
Our correspondent learnt that the parents have further strengthened their scout for money as a 3-man team left Niger State at the weekend to appeal for funds.
A government source however hinted that the state government, though averse to payment of ransom, has been following through intelligence reports on the movement of the children.
"For all we know the bandits could use all forms of ploy to milk money from the parents, they know the parents must have been desperate for the safety of their children who had already spent over two months in captivity so they can say the children are dead to instill fears for more ransom," the source hinted.
When contacted the head teacher of the Islamiyya School confirmed that when Kassimu came back he told them that four graves were shown to him where four pupils who died were buried.
He added that it was true that the bandits were demanding N20million ransom again plus six motorcycles, saying that "the situation is a hopeless one because we don't have that money now".
LEADERSHIP reports that the bandits have so far collected N55million and demanded for six motorcycles before releasing the abducted pupils but at the weekend they made a fresh demand of N20million ransom.
A security expert Mohammed Suleman who spoke to LEADERSHIP yesterday in Minna, on the bandits constantly demanding ransom from the parents of the abducted children, said, "It is either to force government to help with the money or that it may be true that some of the children are died as they indicated."
Meanwhile, the police command in Zamfara State has rescued two abducted students of the Federal Government College (FGC), Birnin Yauri in Kebbi State.
The state commissioner of police, Mr Hussaini Rabi'u disclosed this at a news conference in Gusau, yesterday.
"On July 31, the police tactical operatives attached to Operation Restore Peace deployed to Dansadau area in Maru local government area (LGA) of the state for Anti-Banditry and Kidnapping Operations, rescued one Maryam Abdulkarim, 15.
"The girl who hails from Wushishi LGA of Niger and a 17 year-old-boy, Faruk Buhari, from Wara in Ngaski LGA in Kebbi State were rescued from a nearby bush in Babbar Doka village of Dansadau emirate.
"Our investigation revealed that the rescued victims were among the abducted students of the FGC Birnin Yauri, Kebbi State," he said.