Ten students abducted in northwestern Nigeria

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Over the past two years, hundreds of students have been abducted from schools in Nigeria, among others. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

Ten secondary school students were abducted on Monday in Kaduna state in northwestern Nigeria, the scene of mass abductions of students by gangs in the past, authorities said on Tuesday.

The ten students from Awon Government Secondary School were kidnapped under still undetermined circumstances, said Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna State Homeland Security Commissioner.

Kidnappings for ransom

This is the first known kidnapping of students in the region after a period of calm, especially since the circulation of new banknotes to curb the payment of ransoms to the kidnappers before the general elections held at the end of February. “The Kaduna State Government has received preliminary reports from security agencies of the abduction of approximately ten students“Said Samuel Aruwan in a press release.

It is not yet known whether the students were abducted from school or on their way to school, he added. “The expected detailed reports will specify» the exact location of the incident. Kaduna is one of several states in northwestern and central Nigeria terrorized by armed gangs – known locally as “bandits– who attack villages, kill the inhabitants and turn to kidnappings for ransoms.

Over the past two years, hundreds of students have been abducted from schools, such as Kaduna. The hostages, also simple travelers kidnapped on the roads, are generally released after the payment of a ransom by the families. But those whose ransom is not paid are killed and their bodies thrown into a vast forest used as a hideout by the bandits, straddling the states of Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and Niger.

Authorities and analysts are concerned about the growing alliances between bandits, motivated only by the lure of profit, and jihadists who have been leading an armed insurgency in the northeast of the country for 14 years. Last year, powerful Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai said jihadist groups Ansaru and Boko Haram were setting up camps in his state’s Birnin Gwari district, several hundred kilometers from their traditional northeast stronghold.

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