Terrorism: Almost 300 school children kidnapped in Nigeria

Terrorism: Almost 300 school children kidnapped in Nigeria

Almost exactly ten years ago, the induction of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok sparked global horror. Now almost 300 children have been abducted from a school again.

According to reports from a teacher and media, almost 300 schoolchildren have been kidnapped in the West African country of Nigeria. An armed group attacked a primary and secondary school in the town of Kuriga in the northwestern state of Kaduna on Thursday morning.

A teacher, Sani Abdullahi, told local television station Kaduna State Media Television that 187 secondary school students and 125 primary school students were initially reported missing on Thursday. Of these, 25 children have now returned.

It initially remained unclear whether the children were able to escape the kidnappers or were hiding. In the morning, 287 girls and boys were still missing. According to media reports, a teacher was also abducted.

Since 2014, the Islamist terrorist militia Boko Haram and criminal groups have kidnapped numerous women and children in the north of Africa’s most populous country with around 220 million inhabitants. This involves either ransom extortion, forced recruitment into armed groups or sexual violence.

The kidnapping process

According to the teacher, the building was surrounded by heavily armed men shortly before school started at 8 a.m. local time (8 a.m. CET). The perpetrators forced the approximately 700 students and teachers to go to an adjacent forest area, said Abdullahi. However, many children and adults were able to escape. Shortly afterwards, a local vigilante group tried to pursue the perpetrators, the teacher said. A member of the vigilante group was killed.

Kaduna Senator Uba Sani confirmed the incident but did not provide any casualty figures. Sani said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that he let the community report on the kidnapping with a “bleeding heart.” He will ensure that everything is done to free the students. President Bola Tinubu and the national security adviser were also informed, Sani wrote.

Inadequate security situation in the region

A member of the Kuriga local council tearfully lamented the inadequate security situation in the area. The area where the school is located is considered a crime hotspot. In recent months, smaller groups of people, especially women and children, have been kidnapped in Kaduna state.

At the end of February there was a mass kidnapping of internally displaced persons in the northeastern state of Borno. According to United Nations estimates, more than 200 people were abducted. The exact number of those kidnapped was not known in this case either.

Remembering the kidnapping of Chibok students

According to economic and security consulting firm SB Morgen, Nigeria’s struggling economy, rising inflation and high unemployment have made ransom payments the main reason for kidnappings. According to SB Morgen, 3,620 people were kidnapped in 582 kidnapping incidents in Nigeria in the 12 months between July 2022 and June 2023 alone, the vast majority of them in Kaduna.

Almost exactly ten years ago, in April 2014, the abduction of 276 students from their boarding school in the city of Chibok caused worldwide horror. They had been abducted by Boko Haram fighters, who often force girls and young women into forced marriages or abuse them as sex or domestic slaves. Many of the girls are still missing.

Source: Stern

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