Tag Archives: ‘kidnapped’

More students kidnapped in Nigeria as gunmen attack forestry college

Gunmen in northwest Nigeria kidnapped around 30 students overnight from a forestry college near a military academy, three students said on Friday, in the fourth mass school abduction since December.

The Federal College of Forestry Mechanization sits on the outskirts of Kaduna city, capital of Kaduna state, in a region roamed by armed gangs, who often travel on motorcycles.

Kaduna state’s security commissioner, Samuel Aruwan, confirmed the attack but did not say how many students had been taken.

Sani Danjuma, a student at the college, said those abducted were all female students, but authorities were unable to confirm this. Other students said some of the young women had managed to escape during the attack.

Local resident Haruna Salisu, speaking by phone, said he had heard sporadic gunshots at around 11:30 p.m.

“We were not panicking, thinking that it was a normal military exercise being conducted at the Nigerian Defence Academy,” he said.

WATCH | Nigerian girls released:

A group of 279 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped at gunpoint have been released. But mass abductions for ransom are on the rise, and the government is under increasing pressure to make them stop. 2:02

“We came out for dawn prayers, at 5:20 a.m., and saw some of the students, teachers and security personnel all over the school premises. They told us that gunmen raided the school and abducted some of the students.”

Salisu said she had seen military personnel taking the remaining students into the academy.

On Friday morning, relatives of students gathered at the gates of the college, which was surrounded by around 20 army trucks.

Lawless region

Banditry has festered for years in northwest Nigeria, rendering large swathes of the region lawless.

The trend of abduction from boarding schools was started by the jihadist group Boko Haram, which seized 270 schoolgirls from a school at Chibok in the northeast in 2014, around 100 of whom have never been found.

It has since been taken up by armed criminal gangs seeking ransom.

Within the last few weeks, 279 schoolgirls were freed after being abducted from their boarding school at Jangebe in northwest Nigeria’s Zamfara state, and 27 teenage boys were released after being kidnapped from their school in the north-central state of Niger, along with three staff and 12 family members. One student was shot dead in that attack.

Military and police attempts to tackle the gangs have had little success, while many worry that state authorities are making the situation worse by letting kidnappers go unpunished, paying them off or, as in Zamfara, giving them amenities.

In late February, the presidency said President Muhammadu Buhari had urged state governments to “review their policy of rewarding bandits with money and vehicles, warning that the policy might boomerang disastrously.”

The unrest has become a political problem for Buhari, a retired general and former military ruler who has faced mounting criticism over the rise in violent crime, and replaced his long-standing military chiefs in February.

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Nigerian military exchanges fire with bandits who kidnapped students

The Nigerian military had located and exchanged fire with gunmen who kidnapped scores of secondary school students in northwestern Katsina State, according to a statement from the country’s president on Saturday.

The gunmen stormed the Government Science secondary school in Kankara district at about 9:40 p.m. local time on Friday, police and locals said. A parent and school employee told Reuters that roughly half of the school’s 800 students were missing.

President Muhammadu Buhari said in a statement that the military had located the kidnappers in a forest and was exchanging fire with them, aided by air support. In the statement, Buhari condemned the attack in his home state. Police and the military were still working to determine how many were kidnapped and missing.

Police at the scene on Friday exchanged fire with the attackers, allowing some students to run for safety, police spokesperson Gambo Isah said in a statement. Police said they would deploy additional forces to support the search and rescue operation. One officer was shot and wounded in the exchange of fire with the gang, they said.

Katsina is plagued by violence the government attributes to bandits — a loose term for gangs of outlaws who attack locals and kidnap for ransom. Attacks by Islamist militants are common in northeastern parts of the country.


A classroom at the school is seen after the attack. (Abdullahi Inuwa/Reuters)

Violence and insecurity across Nigeria have enraged citizens, particularly after scores of farmers were killed, some beheaded, by Islamist militants in northeast Borno state late last month.

Buhari, who arrived on Friday for a week in his home village some 200 kilometres from Kankara, was scheduled to brief the country’s National Assembly on the security situation last week but cancelled the appearance without official explanation.

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Canadian among oil workers kidnapped by gunmen in Nigeria

Gunman kidnapped three oil workers from Canada, Scotland and Nigeria at a rig in Nigeria’s Delta region on Saturday, officials said — the second abduction in the area in less than a week.

The attackers raided the rig owned by Niger Delta Petroleum Resources in Ogbele, Rivers State at around 8 a.m. local time, said military spokesperson Maj. Ibrahim Abubakar.

Troops were searching surrounding swamps, he added. State police said they had stepped up security on an east-west road where armed men had attacked civilians in recent weeks.

Global Affairs Canada said they are aware that a Canadian citizen was kidnapped in Nigeria, and said consular officials are in contact with local authorities.

The Niger Delta produces the bulk of Nigeria’s crude. It has been plagued by criminal gangs and by armed groups demanding a greater share of oil revenues for the region. On Thursday, two Royal Dutch Shell oil workers were kidnapped and their police escorts killed in Rivers State while returning from a trip.

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