Abductors of the Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School Children have stated that five of the children in captivity are in critical conditions and may die soon.
The head teacher of the school, Alhassan Garba Abubakar, said the abductors told him this in their last conversation.
The abductors, he said, are willing to accept the initial N18m ransom so parents can have their children back.
But the Niger State Government dismissed the new development as a ploy by the abductors to get more money from the parents.
Two of the abducted children were reported to have died last Thursday.
Alhassan said that the bandits sounded urgent on the phone, claiming they do not want more children to die.
“They called me and broke the news of the death. They urged me to make haste for the release of the children because five of them are also in critical conditions.
“With the death of two of the children plus the earlier four who died, six of the children are now gone even though we have paid N50 million earlier, we pray that this time around God will touch their heart to release them,” he said.
It was learnt that the parents have started to start raise money again to prevent further death of their children.
The parents, it was gathered, were anxious over which of the children were in critical conditions.
But Secretary to the Niger State Government, Alhaji Ibrahim Matane, told The Nation that the bandits have been using the same tactics to get more money from the parents and would end up not releasing the children.
He asked the parents to be calm, assuring government was on top of the situation and would get the children back in good health.
“They have been saying this for a long time. It is a ploy and tactic to get more money from the parents. There is no such confirmation or information from our side that anything of such is happening.
“We assure the parents that the government is doing everything, we are mobilizing security and putting in other security measures which cannot be disclosed. They should stop panicking, we will get the children from the bandits in one piece,” he said.
Matane insisted that the government’s stand of not paying ransom remains but added that this does not mean that the government is doing nothing as perceived by many.