Bandits kidnap dozens of school children in Nigeria

Over 100 students were kidnapped in Nigeria’s Kaduna State.

March 8, 2024, 9:00 AM

LONDON and MAIDUGURI -- Armed bandits in Nigeria have kidnapped over 100 school children in Kuriga, north-western Nigeria, oaccording to officials.

The bandits are reported to have stormed into the LEA Primary School in Kuriga town, Kaduna state, on Thursday seizing scores of pupils before marching them into the forest.

The incident is reported to have happened at around 8 a.m. on Thursday shortly after the morning assembly. The headmaster of the school along with some other members of staff are reportedly among the victims.

“With pain in my heart, I visited Kuriga, Chikun Local Government, where bandits kidnapped primary and secondary school pupils and students," wrote Senator Uba Sani, Governor of Kaduna State, in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Proactive measures need to be taken to safeguard our schools against terrorists.”

Residents told ABC News that most of the pupils ran out of their classes when they sighted the bandits on the school premises. The armed gunmen are reported to have driven into the school grounds on motorcycles.

The mass abduction is the latest in a string of abductions in schools in northern Nigeria, the incidents becoming an increasing point of concern in the country.

As of Friday no group has yet claimed responsibility for the mass abduction.

In 2014, the infamous kidnapping of over 200 schoolgirls in Borno State’s Chibok village by Boko Haram militants.

“Hope is risen that we can have some of them back again,” a parent of one of the kidnapped Chibok school girls told ABC News in 2021 anxiously awaiting the girls’ arrival, dozens of whom still remain in captivity.

According to the International Centre for Counterterrorism, women and children are increasingly the victims of kidnappings and forced abductions.

Sani, on Friday, pledged to get back all the abducted students as government officials worked with the school’s management to confirm the headcount of those missing.

In a statement, Sani said the incident has emphasized the need for state police.

“Proactive measures need to be taken to safeguard our schools against terrorists,” said Sani. “With State Police, there will be a standing Police Force in Kuriga drawn from members of the community who understand the terrain, the people and the issues at play. They can gather intelligence with ease. They will also be constitutionally empowered to bear arms, including sophisticated ones. This is important because vigilante groups are not allowed to carry arms.”

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