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Nigerian student kidnappings spark shock and despair among parents

March 11, 2024

Rashidat Hamza’s world has crumbled into despair as five of her six children are among the nearly 300 students abducted from a school in the troubled northwest region of Nigeria. The recent wave of mass kidnappings in Kuriga, Sokoto, and Borno serves as a stark reminder of the persistent security crisis in Africa’s most populous country. Despite the passage of a decade since the infamous 2014 Chibok abduction, the scourge of school kidnappings continues unabated.

In Kuriga, more than two days have elapsed since Hamza’s children, aged 7 to 18, went to school only to be forcibly taken by a group of gunmen. The shock and disbelief persist among parents like Hamza, who expressed, “We have never seen this kind of thing where our children were abducted from their school.” The scale of this crisis is amplified by the fact that among the students kidnapped, at least 100 are aged 12 or younger.

The wave of abductions extends beyond Kuriga. In Sokoto, 15 children were abducted from a school, while Borno witnessed the kidnapping of 200 people a few days earlier. Although no group has claimed responsibility for these recent incidents, suspicions linger around Islamic extremists in the northeast and conflicts between herders and settled communities.

The response to these kidnappings underscores the ongoing challenges faced by the Nigerian government. Despite efforts by the military to conduct air raids and special operations, armed gangs persist and often collaborate with extremist groups. The ease with which arms can be smuggled across Nigeria’s poorly policed borders exacerbates the security situation.

The affected communities find themselves caught in a cycle of violence, with families forced to pay ransoms in desperation. The situation is compounded by the difficulties in governing and securing vast, ungoverned regions with dense forests that provide havens for organized criminal gangs.

As checkpoints and military trucks now line the roads in the affected areas, the hope is for the safe return of the abducted schoolchildren. However, the future remains uncertain, and the communities affected by these crises are in dire need of both immediate assistance and long-term solutions to address the root causes of insecurity and violence.

Source: PTI

Also read: Nigeria: NewGlobe pedagogy revolution

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