The 42 people, including 27 children, kidnapped ten days ago from a school in west-central Nigeria, have been released, local authorities said on Saturday. “The students, teachers and their relatives of the College of Sciences of Kagara have regained 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 local populations, carry out mass kidnappings for ransom, now abduct children from schools, loot villages and steal livestock.
Mass kidnapping in the north of the country
On Friday, 317 young girls attending school in the state of Zamfara, further north, were also abducted from their dormitories. A rescue operation is underway, made up of security forces, but also angry villagers. President Muhammadu Buhari, very strongly criticized in the face of the catastrophic security situation in northern Nigeria, assured Friday evening that he would not “give in to the blackmail” of the bandits.
With each new mass kidnapping, the authorities, federal or local, claim to pay no ransom to the kidnappers for the release of the hostages, which is unlikely in the eyes of security experts who fear that this mode of kidnappings will multiply in the region. . These criminal gangs are motivated by greed, but some have forged strong links with jihadist groups present in the Northeast.