Gunmen kidnap children from an Islamic school in central Nigeria

Gunmen kidnapped dozens of children from an Islamic seminary in the Nigerian state in central Nigeria on Sunday, police and residents said.

At the time of the attack, about 200 children were in school, Niger’s state government said on Twitter, adding that “an unconfirmed number” had been taken.

The kidnapping came a day after 14 students from a university in northwestern Nigeria were released after 40 days of imprisonment.

Niger State Police spokesman Wasiu Abiodun said the attackers arrived on motorcycles in the town of Tegina and started shooting haphazardly, killing one resident and injuring another, before kidnapping the children of the Salihu Tanko Islamic school. .

One of the school officials, who asked not to be named, said the attackers initially took more than 100 children “but later sent back the children they considered too small for them, who were between four and 12 years old. “.

The state government said in a series of tweets that the attackers had released 11 of the students who were “too small and could not walk far”.

Armed gangs are terrorizing residents in northwestern and central Nigeria by looting villages, stealing livestock and taking people hostage.

Such seizures have become a common way for criminals to collect ransom.

Since December 2020, 730 children and students have been kidnapped before the attack on Sunday.

On April 20, gunmen known locally as “bandits” stormed Greenfield University in northwestern Nigeria and kidnapped about 20 students, killing a member of the school staff.

A few days later, five students were executed to force families and the government to pay a ransom.

Fourteen of the students were released on Saturday.

The local press said the families had paid a total ransom of 180 million naira ($ 440,000) for their release.

The criminal gangs maintain camps in the Rugu Forest, which extends across the states of Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger.

Their motives were financially devoid of ideology, but there is growing concern that they are being infiltrated by Northeast jihadists who are waging a 12-year uprising to establish an Islamic state.


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