140 high school students kidnapped from their boarding school by armed men

One more attack in a long series that has affected the country for several months. 165 high school students who were sleeping peacefully in the boarding school of Bethel high school, in the locality of Chikun in Nigeria were woken up in the night from Sunday to Monday by armed men. The latter “climbed the fence to enter the school,” told Emmanuel Paul, a teacher.

While 25 students managed to escape, 140 more were kidnapped, presumably only to be exchanged for ransom. For the professor, “everything indicates that the attackers arrived on foot”.

Angry parents

Gathered near the school, the parents, angry with the authorities, are now waiting for news of their children. “This government has abandoned the people of Kaduna,” said Mustapha Kumbe, the father of one of the kidnapped young people. “We will continue to protest until our children come back.”

This is the third major attack in Kaduna in the past three days. At least eight hospital workers in that state were kidnapped on Sunday, police said; local sources say 15 people were kidnapped, including two nurses and their two babies. Seven people were also killed on Sunday evening in sporadic attacks in neighboring towns, said Samuel Aruwan, security officer in the Kaduna government.

13 vulnerable schools closed

State police spokesman Muhammed Jalige confirmed the attack on the school without being able to give more details, adding that “the police tactical teams have chased the kidnappers, the mission is ongoing “. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday ordered the army, police and intelligence services to work for the speedy release of all abducted victims, according to a statement from his services. The state government on Monday ordered the immediate closure of 13 schools considered vulnerable, according to a letter from education authorities.

Criminal groups, commonly called “bandits” by the authorities, terrorize the populations of northwest and central Nigeria. They attack villages, steal cattle and kidnap local personalities or travelers for ransom from the roads. Recently, these criminal groups have launched attacks on schools and universities, carrying out mass kidnappings of students for ransom.

In Kaduna, we don’t pay the ransoms

The governor of Kaduna state, Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, unlike some of his counterparts in neighboring states, categorically refuses to negotiate with these armed groups and pay ransoms. He also threatened to penalize anyone paying ransoms to find relatives, so as not to encourage kidnappings.

Unable to ensure safety in schools and high schools, many states in northwestern Nigeria, an area considered to be one of the poorest in the world, have already closed most public school boarding schools, dismissing thousands of people. ‘children at home.

Financial motivations only

Many experts are also worried about the possible rapprochement of jihadist groups Boko Haram and Daesh in West Africa (Iswap), in conflict with the Nigerian army for more than 12 years in northeastern Nigeria, with the criminal groups in the northwest. Nonetheless, Nnamdi Obasi, an analyst for the International Crisis Group (ICG) and specialist on the issue, notes that “there is no evidence yet that these attacks on schools are motivated by political or ideological support.” “The motivations seem to be solely financial and criminal,” he assures us.

President Muhammadu Buhari, 78, is particularly criticized for his economic and security management and accused of letting the most populous country in Africa, with 210 million inhabitants, sink into unprecedented insecurity. “Refusing to pay ransoms is not a solution to ending kidnappings,” Obasi said. “We need a strategy to prevent these attacks, save the victims and bring those responsible to justice.”

Since the beginning of December, more than 1,000 children, adolescents and students have been abducted in a dozen large-scale attacks and some of them are still in the hands of their captors. No one responsible for these acts has been arrested or tried in court.

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