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Nigeria: Gunmen kidnap 15 more students in another abduction

March 10, 2024

The pupils were snatched from an Islamic school in the northwest, where gunmen have adopted the tactic to extract ransoms. This comes days after almost 300 students were kidnapped in a region nearby.

People gather around an area were gunmen kidnapped school children in Chikun, Nigeria, Thursday, March 7, 2024.
Kidnappings are increasing in northwestern NigeriaImage: AP/dpa/picture alliance

Gunmen swept through an Islamic school in northwestern Nigeria on Saturday, kidnapping 15 students.

The gunmen raided the school premises in the Sokoto village of Gidan Bakuso. They sporadically fired shots, snatching the children while they were sleeping outside.

Nigerians on brink of hopelessness as mass abductions recur

What do we know about the latest kidnapping?

Sokoto police spokesman Ahmad Rufa'i told the Associated Press news agency the incident happened before police arrived.

School owner Liman Abubakar Bakuso told the French AFP news agency the gunmen "were passing by the school with a woman they kidnapped from another part of town and the pupils were awoken by her cries."

Abubakar told the Reuters news agency that those kidnapped were mostly below 13 years old, though they included a 20-year-old and a 15-year-old, he added.

"We are in a state of panic and have been praying hard for their safe release," he told Reuters.

Police struggle to confront growing abduction crisis

Police spokesman Rufa'i said a police tactical squad was deployed to search for the pupils. He nevertheless noted the inaccessible roads in the area and the challenge they posed to the rescue operation.

"It is a remote village [and] vehicles cannot go there; they [the police squad] had to use motorcycles to the village," the AP quoted him as saying.

This comes merely days after over 280 pupils were kidnapped from a school by gunmen also in the northwest.

Nigerians demand state help to free their kids

Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu deployed on Friday troops to rescue the pupils, in an effort to reverse one of the largest mass abductions in years.

School kidnappings in Nigeria became common since the jihadist group Boko Haram seized over 200 pupils from a girls' school in Chibok in 2014.

However, the practice has been more recently adopted by criminal gangs of no ideological affiliation, seeking ransom payments, authorities say.

An Islamist insurgency in the northeast has mostly occupied Nigerian security, creating an opening for the kidnappers in other parts of the country.

rmt/wd (AFP, AP, Reuters)