More than 280 Students from Nigeria Kidnapped in Kuriga

Officials report that over 280 Nigerian school pupils were kidnapped in the town of Kuriga in the north-western region.

The students were gathered in the assembly area at around 08:30 (07:30 GMT) when a group of armed individuals on motorcycles passed through the school, according to a witness.

The students, aged between eight and 15, were escorted along with a teacher, according to reports.

Groups of kidnappers, referred to as bandits, have abducted numerous individuals in the past few years, particularly in the north-western region.

Nevertheless, there was a decrease in the mass abduction of children over the previous year until this week.

The governor of Kaduna state, Uba Sani, confirmed the kidnapping in Kuriga.

187 students were reported missing from a secondary school and 125 from the local primary school, with 25 having returned since then.

According to the eyewitness, a girl was shot by the gunmen and is currently receiving medical care at Birnin Gwari hospital.

A teacher who fled the scene mentioned that local residents attempted to save the children, but were met with resistance from the armed individuals, resulting in one casualty.

It is believed that nearly every household in the town has a child who was taken by the kidnappers, prompting the military to initiate a search operation.

The governor promised that every child would be supported.

In January, a school principal was killed by bandits in the region and his wife was abducted.

Following the recent incident, where many women and children were believed to have been abducted by the Boko Haram Islamist group while gathering firewood in north-eastern Nigeria, another kidnapping has occurred.

Nevertheless, the two instances of mass abductions are not believed to be connected.

The criminal kidnap gangs causing terror in north-western Nigeria are distinct from the militant Islamist group Boko Haram in the north-east, with reports suggesting occasional collaboration between them.

The attack on Thursday occurred in a region under the control of Ansaru, a splinter group of Boko Haram, that had previously abducted over 200 schoolgirls from Chibok in 2014.

In an effort to address Nigeria’s growing kidnapping problem, a contentious law was enacted in 2022 that criminalises ransom payments. The offence can result in a minimum 15-year jail term, but no arrests have been made so far.

Earlier this year, the family of a group of sisters abducted in the capital, Abuja, refuted a police claim that the security forces had saved the girls, stating that they were forced to pay the ransom.

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