Nigeria: release of 42 people kidnapped 10 days ago from boarding school

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The 42 people, including 27 children, kidnapped ten days ago from a school in west-central Nigeria, were released, the day after another mass kidnapping on Friday where 317 girls were also kidnapped by criminal groups.

• Read also: Kidnapping of students in Nigeria: security forces on the trail of kidnappers

“The students, teachers and their relatives of the College of Sciences of Kagara have found their freedom and are received by the local government,” announced on Twitter Abubakar Sani Bello, the governor of the Nigerian state of Niger, one of the areas mined by criminal groups called “bandits”.

In mid-February, armed men attacked this public secondary school in Kagara, killing a student and taking with them 27 students, three teachers and 12 family members of staff.

The “bandits”, as the authorities refer to them, terrorize the local populations, carry out mass kidnappings for ransom, loot villages and steal livestock for several years, especially in the north-west and center-west of Nigeria.

But lately, they are also increasing the kidnappings of children from schools.

On Friday, 317 young girls attending school in Jangebe, in northwestern Zamfara state, were abducted from their dormitories. A rescue operation is underway, made up of security forces, but also villagers.

On Friday afternoon, the angry parents of the kidnapped students attacked the official convoy that wanted to go to the scene, seriously injuring a local journalist in the head.

Saturday morning, the situation was calmer, according to testimonies collected by AFP, and some parents waited in peace and resignation for the news of their daughters.


In early December, 344 young boys were abducted from a boarding school in Kankara, neighboring Katsina state, before being released a week later.

The authorities deny paying any ransom to the criminals, but that is not much doubt for the security experts, who fear that this practice will spread and multiply in these regions plagued by extreme poverty and little or not at all secure. .

The authorities had amnestied one of those responsible for the kidnapping, Awwalun Daudawa, sending the wrong message to the criminals, and “shooting himself in the foot,” according to Yan Saint-Pierre, who heads the Modern Security security analysis center. Consulting Group.

Faced with this new mass kidnapping, President Muhammadu Buhari, very strongly criticized for the catastrophic security situation in northern Nigeria, where he is from, assured Friday evening that he would not “give in to blackmail” by bandits.

Violence, extreme poverty and school attendance

Their number is uncertain, but these armed groups are attracting more and more unemployed young people to these regions, who experience more than 80% of extreme poverty among their population.

“We cannot know exactly how many there are,” Nnamdi Obasi, Nigeria analyst for the International Crisis Group (ICG), told AFP. “They divide, regroup, form alliances within themselves … And in the state of Zamfara alone, it is estimated that there are around 40 camps” where they live and hide, continues the expert.

Some of these groups have hundreds of fighters, others only a few dozen, some having forged strong links with jihadist groups in the northeast, others not.

This criminal violence has killed more than 8,000 people since 2011, and forced more than 200,000 people to flee their homes, according to an ICG report published in May 2020.

The other worry in the face of this new trend is that these kidnappings contribute even more to the dropout of children, and particularly girls, in this region which already has the largest number of children who do not go to school in the world. , according to the ICG.

On Friday evening, the government of Kano State, a very populous state in the north and so far spared from violence by bandits, ordered “the immediate closure” of ten boarding schools outside the capital.