Abubakar Shekau, the notorious leader of the dreaded terrorist organisation Boko Haram, in the early hours of Tuesday, December 16, announced that his group abducted over 300 students in Kankara local government of Katsina state.
This clearly contradicted the existing insinuations that the schoolboys, abducted on Friday, December 10, were captured by a group of bandits terrorising the northwest state amid rising insecurity in the north.
In a video released by the Boko Haram leader which was first published by Ahmed Salkida's HumanAngle, Shekau boasted that the students were kidnapped "to promote Islam and discourage un-Islamic practices of Western education."
Boko Haram's announcement makes the abduction of the pupils the group's first major operation in northwest Nigeria, as it has in the past mostly restricted its operations to the northeast of the country.
The group in the released video stated:
"What happened in Katsina was done to promote Islam and discourage un-Islamic practices as Western education is not the type of education permitted by Allah and his Holy Prophet.
"They are rather destroying Islam. It may be subtle, but Allah the Lord of the skies and earths knows whatever is hidden. May Allah promote Islam. May we die as Muslims."
Although efforts have been intensified to rescue the Kankara boys, security experts and public analysts have suggested that Shekau may release the victims based on three arrangement which the federal government may be forced to take one.
Experts argued that since Kankara abduction is a case of kidnapping, the Boko Haram insurgent group, having claimed responsibility for the abduction, may go for ransom from the federal government.
Although the chances of rescuing all the boys get slimmer every day, should the government go into a negotiation with the dreaded terrorist group, a huge ransom may be demanded to set free the victims.
Tension as Boko Haram claims responsibility for abduction of Katsina students, reveals why it carried out attack
2. Prisoner Swap
Another condition, as argued by security experts based on past records, is that Shekau may want to swap the boys with some of the Boko Haram members captured by the Nigerian military operatives.
Since the renewed efforts and onslaught towards the fight against terror in the northeast, many Boko Haram and ISWAP fighters have been killed and arrested. Shekau may opt for the release of his boys before freeing the Kankara students.
3. Like Chibok Girls, some may be released, some recruited
There is a palpable fear that those kidnapped boys may be recruited into Shekau's Boko Haram army if the first two options collapse.
And experts have argued that like the Chibok girls, some of the boys may escape, willingly released while some distributed across the Lake Chad as young fighters.
Meanwhile, an attack by suspected bandits in northern Nigeria has reportedly resulted in the abduction of about 19 people.
The latest incident reportedly occurred in Ogu and Tegina communities in Rafi local government area of Niger state.
A government official who spoke anonymously to the Nigerian Tribune confirmed the attack. He told the newspaper that residents in the affected community informed him via a telephone that bandits invaded Tegina community on Sunday morning, December 13.
Soldiers have killed 92 Boko Haram members in the past week - Major General Enenche | Legit TV