07 March 2024

Gunmen kidnap 287 pupils from Nigerian primary school

07 March 2024

Gunmen have attacked a primary school in Nigeria’s north-west region and abducted 287 pupils.

Residents told the Associated Press the assailants surrounded the government-owned school in Kaduna State’s Kuriga town just as the pupils were about to start the school day.

Sani Abdullahi, the headteacher, told Kaduna governor Uba Sani when he visited the town that the total number of those missing was 287.

“We will ensure that every child will come back. We are working with the security agencies,” the governor told the villagers.

Abductions of students from schools in northern Nigeria are common and have become a source of concern since 2014 when Islamic extremists kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls in Borno state’s Chibok village.

In recent years, the abductions have been concentrated in the north west and central regions where dozens of armed groups often target villagers and travellers for huge ransoms.

The attack in Kuriga occurred days after more than 200 people, mostly women and children, were abducted by extremists in north-eastern Nigeria.

Women, children and students are often targeted in the mass abductions and many victims are released only after paying huge ransoms.

Observers say both attacks are a reminder of Nigeria’s worsening security crisis which resulted in the deaths of several hundred people in 2023, according to an AP analysis.

Bola Tinubu was elected president of Nigeria last year after promising to end the violence but there has been “no tangible improvement in the security situation yet”, said Oluwole Ojewale, West and Central Africa researcher with the Africa-focused Institute for Security Studies.

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