Large numbers of children have been kidnapped by gunmen from a Koranic school in north-central Nigeria, a country where mass kidnappings are on the rise, authorities and residents reported on Sunday.
“As yet uncertain number of students at Salihu Tanko Islamic School abducted with passengers from a bus” after gunmen attacked their school, Nigerian state government said on his Twitter account. “The kidnappers released 11 children, who were too small to walk,” said the government, which denounces this “unfortunate” event and the increase in kidnappings for ransom across the center and north of the most populous country in Africa .
Schoolchildren managed to escape
Police spokesman Wasiu Abiodun said the attackers arrived on motorbikes and started shooting, killing one resident and injuring another, before abducting the children. The Salihu Tanko Koranic school had around 200 present at the time of the attack but several managed to escape, said one of the leaders, who wishes to remain anonymous for his safety.
“At the beginning they took more than a hundred students, but then they left those they considered too small, those between 4 and 12 years old”, he confided, adding that he did not have precise figures. the number of kidnapped children. In another statement on Twitter, the government claimed that Governor Sani Bello ordered “security agencies to bring the children back as quickly as possible.”
730 young people kidnapped in six months
This new kidnapping comes the day after the release of 14 students in the state of Kaduna (north), after 40 days of detention. Five students were executed by their captors in the days following their kidnapping to pressure families and force the government to pay ransom. In the local press, families have claimed to have had to pay 180 million naira (357,000 euros) in total to find their children.
These armed gangs, whose members are commonly referred to as “bandits” in this region, terrorize populations in west-central and north-west Nigeria, looting villages, stealing livestock and carrying out mass kidnappings for ransom. For several months, these bandits have been engaged in mass kidnappings targeting schools: 730 children and adolescents have already been kidnapped since December 2020.