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Nigeria: Gunmen kidnap at least 87 in Kaduna state after it apprehended over 300 school children

Kaduna police spokesperson Mansur Hassan confirmed the incident in Kajuru Station village on Sunday night but could not give a figure of those missing.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Abuja Updated on: March 18, 2024 21:33 IST
Nigeria kidnapping
Image Source : AP Representational Image

Abuja: Gunmen in Nigeria have kidnapped at least 87 people, including women and children in Kaduna state, residents and police said on Monday. Kaduna police spokesperson Mansur Hassan confirmed the incident in Kajuru Station village on Sunday night but could not give a figure of those missing.

Tanko Wada Sarkin, a village head, said 87 people were taken. "We have so far recorded the return of five people back home who fled through the bush," he told Reuters by phone. Kidnappings by criminal gangs demanding ransom payments have become an almost daily occurrence in Nigeria, especially in the north, with authorities seemingly powerless to stop them.

300 school children abducted last week in Nigeria

The case of mass kidnapping surfaced a week after gunmen kidnapped more than 300 schoolchildren in Nigeria’s conflict-battered northwest. 

No group claimed responsibility for any of the recent abductions. But Islamic extremists waging an insurgency in the northeast are suspected of carrying out the kidnapping in Borno. Locals blame the school kidnappings on herders who are in conflict with the settled communities.

Why mass abduction is so common in Nigeria?

A major factor that conflict analysts say has fueled the abductions is how easy it is to smuggle in arms over Nigeria’s poorly policed borders. More than half of its 1,500-kilometer (932-mile) border with Niger, for instance, stretches across the northwest. Though mostly savannah, the region also has vast forests that are ungoverned and unoccupied, providing havens for organized gangs and their kidnap victims.

In 2022, Nigerian lawmakers passed a bill to bar ransom payments, but Nigeria’s kidnappers are known for brutality, prodding many families to scramble to pay a ransom. Fatigued by the 14-year Islamic insurgency in Nigeria’s northeast, the military continues to conduct air raids and special military operations in the region. However, the armed gangs continue to grow in numbers and often work with the extremists who are seeking to expand their operations beyond the northeast.

The armed gangs are “adapting their strategies and further entrenching themselves in the northwest through extortion,” said James Barnett, a researcher specializing in West Africa at the U.S.-based Hudson Institute.

This is a breaking story. More details will be added. 

 

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