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More than 100 people kidnapped in northwest Nigeria

Photo: Sunday Alamba AP Children in Kuriga, Nigeria, March 9, 2024. Earlier this month, gunmen kidnapped more than 250 students from a school in the village of Kuriga, in one of the largest such attacks in decades. years.

France Media Agency to Abuja

March 18, 2024

  • Africa

More than 100 people have been kidnapped in northwest Nigeria in two separate attacks, a new wave of large-scale kidnappings testing the authority of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who promised to tackle insecurity.

These new kidnappings in Kaduna State follow that of several dozen people last week in the same district of Kajuru, as well as that in early March of more than 250 students from a Kuriga school, 150 kilometers from Kajuru.

These new mass kidnappings in Africa's most populous country took place over the weekend.

During the night from Sunday to Monday, armed men kidnapped 87 people in the locality of Kajuru Station, according to the president of the local government, Ibrahim Gajere. “They went to take people from their homes at gunpoint,” he told Agence France-Presse.

A resident, Harisu Dari, said groups of attackers, known locally as bandits, stormed the village around 10 p.m. and went door to door to remove the inhabitants.

A UN source and a former local official, both speaking to Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity, confirmed this account.

On Saturday, 16 people were kidnapped in Dogon Noma, about ten kilometers away, according to Harisu Dari, the UN source and former local official.

The Kaduna Police and the State Security Commissioner did not respond to repeated requests for confirmation.

Last week, gunmen kidnapped dozens of people in another village in Kajuru district.

“The same cycle repeats itself”

Criminal gangs often carry out mass kidnappings in northwest Nigeria, targeting schools, villages and highways where they can quickly kidnap large numbers of people in exchange for ransom.

At the beginning of the month, more than 100 women and children were kidnapped from a displacement camp in Borno state (northwest) by suspected jihadists.

Then, gunmen kidnapped more than 250 students from a school in the village of Kuriga, about 150 kilometers away, in one of the largest such attacks in years.

A few days later, at least 15 students from an Islamic school in Sokoto state in northwest Nigeria were kidnapped by armed men, according to local sources.

These successive waves of large-scale kidnappings constitute a major challenge for the Head of State.

Last week, he said he had ordered security forces not to pay a ransom for the students' release. The parents say the kidnappers demanded a large payment for the children's return.

In Nigeria, kidnapping victims are often released following negotiations with authorities, although officials deny that ransoms are paid.

Families and entire communities pool their savings to pay ransoms, but a 2022 law prohibits handing over money to kidnappers.

Many families say they do not trust the authorities and have no choice.

“All young people who do not see a future in Nigeria, given the dire economic situation, are turning to kidnapping for ransom as a means of livelihood,” he told the Agency. France-Presse Confidence MacHarry, of the Nigerian risk management consultancy SBM Intelligence.

“What we've seen so far in terms of the government's response is always the same thing, the vacillating between 'we're not going to pay the ransom' and 'we're doing everything we can to bring the children back to their parents,” according to him.

“So, at the end of the day, it always comes down to backroom negotiations, paying a ransom, reducing school security, and more often than not, the same cycle repeats itself.” , he added.

SBM Intelligence said it had recorded 4,777 people kidnapped since Mr Tinubu took office in May 2023.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116