Gunmen kidnap primary school pupils and teachers in Nigeria

Gunmen kidnap primary school pupils and teachers in Nigeria’s fifth mass abduction since December following local anger paying ransoms would encourage raids

  • A Kaduna state official said the local government received reports of a kidnapping on Monday
  • The abduction included pupils and teachers and took place in the Birnin Gwari local government area
  • It is the latest in a string of mass kidnappings from schools in Nigeria, where armed groups abduct people for profit
  • Both the local and federal response to the kidnappings have been sharply criticised as being ineffective in stopping the problem 

Gunmen have kidnapped primary school pupils and teachers in northwestern Nigeria, a state official said, in the fifth school abduction since December.

The state government has received reports of a kidnapping of pupils and teachers in the Birnin Gwari local government area, Samuel Aruwan, the secretary commissioner for Kaduna state, said on Monday.  

‘The Kaduna State Government is currently obtaining details on the actual number of pupils and teachers reported to have been kidnapped and will issue a comprehensive statement as soon as possible,’ Aruwan said in a statement.

AFP news agency reported that the people were taken from the LEA Primary School in Rema, which lies within Birnin Gwari. 

Kaduna is part of a region where banditry has festered for years. Armed groups kidnap large numbers of people for ransom or as leverage to negotiate the release of their members from jail. 

Many have expressed concern that state authorities are making the situation worse by letting kidnappers go unpunished, paying them off or providing incentives.  

Gunmen have kidnapped primary school pupils and teachers in northwestern Nigeria, a state official said, in the fifth school abduction since December. The state government has received reports of a kidnapping of pupils and teachers in the Birnin Gwari local government area, Samuel Aruwan, the secretary commissioner for Kaduna state, said on Monday

Referring to the latest attack, Sarkin Mota, a resident, told Reuters news agency that his son was among those kidnapped as well as three of his teachers.

‘[They] were kidnapped early this morning when the teachers and pupils were coming to school,’ Mota said. 

‘We are in [a] state of panic,’ he said, referring to other parents when they received the news. 

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. 

The kidnapping is just the latest in a string of mass abductions from schools in northern Nigeria. 

Armed men attempted to kidnap students from The Federal College of Forestry Mechanization on the outskirts of Kaduna city overnight on Sunday.

Within the last few weeks, 279 schoolgirls were freed after being abducted from their boarding school at Jangebe in the northwestern Zamfara state.

Twenty-seven teenage boys were released after being kidnapped from their school in north-central Nigeria, along with three staff and 12 family members. 

One student was shot dead in the attack.

The unrest and frequent mass abductions have become a political problem for President Muhammadu Buhari (pictured), a retired general and former military ruler who has faced mounting criticism over the rise in violent crime, and replaced his long-standing military chiefs earlier this year [File photo]

In December, 344 students were abducted from the Government Science Secondary School Kankara in Katsina, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, while he was visiting the region.

Buhari has criticised local deals to free victims and Nigeria’s federal government said it would ‘take out’ abductors. 

However attempts by the military and police to tackle armed groups have had little success.

The unrest has become a political problem for Buhari, a retired general and former military ruler who has faced mounting criticism over the rise in violent crime, and replaced his long-standing military chiefs earlier this year. 

Within the last few weeks, 279 schoolgirls were freed after being abducted from their boarding school at Jangebe in the northwestern Zamfara state. Pictured: A kidnapped girl is reunited with a family member in Jangebe [File photo]

While school kidnappings were first carried out by jihadist groups Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province, the tactic has now been adopted by other militants in the northwest whose agenda is unclear.    

Teachers have been forced to flee to other states for protection, and many children have had to abandon their education amid frequent violent attacks in communities, according to Amnesty International.

The most notable mass abduction in Nigeria came in April 2014, when news that 276 girls from a secondary school in Chibok were taken by Boko Haram drew international attention. 

More than a hundred of the girls are still missing. 

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