Special to USAfricaonline.com
Aba, Nigeria — Parents of children who were kidnapped when gunmen hijacked their school bus in southern Nigeria begged for their release on Thursday as troops patrolled the city where the attack occurred.
The parents of some of the 15 children abducted on Monday said they could not afford the huge ransom demanded for their release following the incident that has shocked the country.
“Government should help us,” David Ezeribe, 38, who said three of his children aged six, four and three were abducted, told reporters. “The kids had only a slice of bread when they left home for school on Monday.
“For God’s sake, please release these children to come back to me.”
He said he could not pay the 20 million naira (128,900 dollars, 95,650 euros) ransom “even if I sell all my property and business.”
Ndudi Ihesieme, 35, said two of his children aged four and three were taken in the hijacking.
“There is no more peace in my home,” he said. “Please release my children. They are innocent.”
A woman who said she was representing the nursery and primary school, Ogechi James, told the same news conference organised by a community leader that the the kidnappers had rejected an offer of 100,000 naira.
Troops and police could be seen moving throughout the city of Aba in armoured vehicles, and a number of residents were leaving because of security fears.
A police officer called the joint patrols routine, but much of the city has also shut down amid fears of further such attacks, with a spate of kidnappings having already occurred in Abia state, where Aba is located.
“It’s for general security,” the officer said on condition of anonymity. “For the kidnapping, the search is on.”
The hijacking on Monday signalled a disturbing escalation in the spate of kidnappings that had already provoked fear in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, while also drawing widespread condemnation in Nigeria. (AFP)