Nigeria kidnappings: Schools in Zamfara shut after mass kidnapping of students by gunmen

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At least 73 students have been kidnapped from a state-run highschool in Zamfara’s Maradun district, native police mentioned in a press release, including that the highschool was focused by “armed bandits.”

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“The abduction followed the invasion of the school by a large number of armed bandits,” in line with Zamfara State Police Command.

“A search and rescue team has been deployed to work with the military to locate and rescue the abducted children… Security has also been beefed up at Kaya Village and environ to forestall further attacks on the communities,” the assertion added.

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Zamfara’s Information Commissioner, Ibrahim Dosara, advised CNN on Thursday that colleges in the state have been closed right down to keep away from additional assaults.

“We have closed primary and secondary schools in the state,” Dosara mentioned, including “but schools currently writing examinations are asked to stay behind until they finish their examinations… Heavy security presence will be provided to protect those writing exams.”

The newest kidnapping comes days after 91 schoolchildren earlier kidnapped in north-central Niger State have been launched by their captors after hundreds of {dollars} have been paid by their households as ransom.

Peter Hawkins, UNICEF’s consultant in Nigeria advised CNN the Zamfara kidnapping “highlights the fragility of education and security” in the state.

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“The bandits have reached a stage now where all schools in Zamfara state have been closed down through their actions. The impact this will have on children who want to learn will be profound — not only on those 73 children whose lives are at stake for purposes of extortion, but for all children in Zamfara who are prevented from being able to go to school and learn,” mentioned Hawkins, who added that an estimated 1.3 million Nigerian kids have been affected by frequent raids on colleges by gunmen.

Kidnapping for ransom has change into one of the most important safety challenges in Nigeria, with Zamfara and different neighbouring northwestern states being hit with a number of mass kidnappings this yr.

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Hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls released days after kidnapping
Prominent among the many string of kidnappings in Zamfara was the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls in the city of Jangebe in February. The students have since been freed, with authorities insisting no ransom was paid to safe their launch.
Between June 2011 and the top of March 2020, an estimated $18.34 million was paid in ransoms, Lagos-based SBM Intelligence mentioned in a report final yr titled “The economics of the kidnap industry in Nigeria.”
Amnesty International has described this newest incident in Zamfara as “disturbing,” saying in a tweet that “attacks on schools and abductions of children are war crimes.”

“The children abducted are in serious risk of being harmed. Nigerian authorities must take all measures to return them to safety,” Amnesty added.

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