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Nigeria confronts second mass kidnapping of schoolchildren in nine days after 317 girls vanish

  • Feb 27, 2021
  • Author: QT-Online
  • Number of views: 1000
  • Top News
Gunmen raided a boarding school in northwestern Nigeria early Friday and kidnapped more than 300 girls, marking the third mass abduction of children since December in Africa's most populous nation.
The assailants struck the Government Girls Secondary School in Zamfara state in a predawn ambush, teachers and residents said, waking up the town as shots rang out.
By daylight Friday, community members tallied the missing — 317 vanished into the night, local police said — while security forces scoured the area, which has been plagued by kidnappings in recent months.
“I wish to assure everyone that we are wholly committed to ensuring a speedy rescue of our dear schoolgirls,” Bello Matawalle, the Zamfara state governor, said in a special broadcast.
No one has asserted responsibility for the attack, but criminal gangs known as “bandits” are increasingly seizing groups for ransom — a menace that has prompted some Nigerians to call for a national state of emergency.
The kidnapping comes nine days after attackers stormed another boarding school in north-central Nigeria, abducting more than 40 people, including 27 students. The Niger state victims all remain in captivity as authorities attempt to negotiate their release.
Taking hostages is a growing business in the country.
Between 2011 and 2020, Nigerians paid at least $18 million to liberate themselves or loved ones, according to a report from SB Morgen, a consulting firm that crunched data from open sources.