Dozens Missing in Nigeria’s Latest School Kidnapping – The Wall Street Journal

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari dispatched the country’s military chiefs to coordinate a rescue operation.

Photo: siphiwe sibeko/Reuters

Dozens of schoolboys and staff were kidnapped by gunmen in northwest Nigeria early Wednesday, according to local officials, the latest in a string of high-school abductions that have roiled the northern states of Africa’s most populous country.

The gunmen stormed the Government Science college in Kagara district of Niger state around 2 a.m. and overwhelmed the school security, killing one student before ordering students and staff to leave their hostels and gather, according to officials. “The situation is very serious…Some 27 students, 3 staff and 12 members of their family were kidnapped,” said Abubakar Sani Bello, the governor of Niger state. Unfortunately one student was shot dead.”

A photograph shared by the governor’s security officials showed the body of a student on the back of a pickup truck covered in leaves. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, criticized for reacting slowly to previous abductions, dispatched the country’s military chiefs to coordinate a rescue operation, his spokesman said.

Shehu Sani, a former senator who studied in Kagara as a boy, said it was unclear how many people were missing but that the school was attended by some 1,000 students.

More than 300 schoolboys were received by government officials in Nigeria after being released by their captors. Jihadist group Boko Haram had claimed responsibility for kidnapping them a week ago. Photo: Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters (Originally Published Dec. 18, 2020)

The kidnapping comes barely a month after 344 boys were taken from a school in nearby Katsina state. Three of the abducted boys told The Wall Street Journal in interviews that the kidnappers told them a ransom had been paid for their release. Government officials denied paying a ransom and said the kidnappers released the schoolboys because the military had surrounded them.

Mr. Sani said that kidnapping for ransom was now a multimillion-dollar business across the north. “Its a disaster, the rural areas are virtually under the control of these bandits.”

Write to Joe Parkinson at joe.parkinson@wsj.com

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Dozens Missing in Nigeria’s Latest School Kidnapping – The Wall Street Journal

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