Nigeria: At least 287 school children kidnapped by armed gunmen in northwestern Kaduna State

Jerome Delay/AP

Kaduna, which borders the Nigerian capital Abuja, has suffered recurring incidents of kidnappings by marauding gangs known locally as ‘bandits’.



CNN

At least 287 schoolchildren, some as young as eight, are being held by gunmen who stormed their school in Nigeria’s northwestern Kaduna state early Thursday, a police spokesman told CNN on Friday.

More than 300 students were taken early on Thursday by the armed bandits on motorcycles who stormed the LEA Primary School and Secondary School at Kuriga village in Chikun District of Kaduna, the state police spokesman, Mansur Hassan, said.

Some students were rescued, but 287 of them remain with the kidnappers, Hassan said.

“Students were kidnapped from the school building around 8:00 am (local time) on Thursday morning. About 287 students are still in the hands of the bandits, 100 from primary school and 187 from secondary school,” Hassan said, adding that “more than 300 students were initially kidnapped, but some were rescued.”

Earlier, Reuters reported that 227 children had been kidnapped, citing a teacher, local councilor and parents of the missing children. Several other reports, including the Washington Post and a local report 287, mention the school’s principal.

CNN cannot independently verify these figures.

Governor of Kaduna State, Uba Sani, said in a statement rack On Thursday, his government “made every effort to ensure the safe return of the pupils and students” was kidnapped.

Sani also said that a community member who confronted the kidnappers during the attack was killed, adding that the President of Nigeria and the National Security Adviser were aware of the situation, and that there was a Security Committee and a military base in Kuriga will be established to strengthen the situation. safety in the area.

Kaduna State, which borders Nigeria’s capital Abuja to the south-west, has suffered from recurring incidents of kidnappings for ransom by bandits and has witnessed several mass kidnappings in recent years, including in the district where the LEA Primary and Secondary School is established.

In 2021, at least 140 students were kidnapped by gunmen from a private high school. The incident occurred just months after about 20 students from a private university in Kasarami village in Chikun were kidnapped by gunmen, five of whom were killed after a ransom deadline was missed, family members told CNN at the time.

Amnesty International’s Nigerian office condemned the kidnapping while urging authorities to take immediate action “to prevent attacks on schools, to protect the lives of children and their right to education.”

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