An unidentified group of armed men killed a student on Wednesday in a night attack on the Government Science College of Kagara, in the Niger district, and kidnapped 27 other students from the center, according to Reuters. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who puts the total number of abducted people at 42, including students, teachers, and professionals at the center, ordered a rescue operation.
It was only one who died Aliyu Isa, a teacher at the school, told local television. The kidnappers were dressed in army uniforms and shot when they broke into the school. They were telling the students not to run added Isa, who claimed that he and others fled as the attackers surrounded some of the students. Niger state officials did not immediately confirm the death but claimed that 27 students, some staff members, and family members, had been abducted by the armed group. The abduction takes place two months after the mass kidnapping of 344 students in the city of Kankara.
The bandits attacked the school around 2:00 am on Wednesday. In total, they kidnapped 42 people Muhammad Sani Idris, a local government information official, told AFP. At the time of the attack, there were 650 students in the school. They took 27 along with three teachers. One student was killed. They also kidnapped 12 members of the teachers’ families, he said. In the morning, a security source and an official told AFP that hundreds of students were kidnapped in this attack. Buhari ordered the armed forces and the police to immediately return all captives unharmed according to a statement. The soldiers, with air support, search for the kidnappers and hostages.
LINKS WITH JIHADIST GROUPS
For almost ten years, northwestern and central Nigeria have been the scene of violence by criminal groups known locally as bandits who have increased kidnappings for ransom and theft of livestock. These criminal gangs are motivated by greed, but some have forged links with jihadist groups present in the northeast. This is particularly the case of those who kidnapped 344 students last December in a boarding school in the city of Kankara, in the state of Katsina.
These armed groups had acted on behalf of the jihadist group Boko Haram, whose stronghold is hundreds of kilometers away in northeastern Nigeria. The Kankara teenagers were released after a week in captivity, following negotiations between these gangs and local governments. This abduction caused a global stir and revived the memory of the abduction by Boko Haram of more than 200 girls in Chibok (northeast), in 2014. On February 9, the person responsible for the kidnapping, the leader of an armed group called Awwalun Daudawa, surrendered to the authorities in exchange for an amnesty agreement.
SECURING THE SCHOOLS
For these criminal groups, the easiest way to get money from the government now is to kidnap school children says Idayat Hassan director of the Center for Democracy and Development. The government must urgently secure schools, otherwise, the kidnappings of Chibok and Kankara will encourage others to act worse he adds. Senate President Ahmad Lawan stated that a new strategy must be adopted to ensure the safety of schools, as this wave of kidnappings will certainly hurt the desire and willingness of parents to send their children to school.
The governor of the state of Niger, Abubakar Sani Bello, has ordered the immediate closure and until further notice of the internees in four districts of that state. Criminal gangs from the north and center often hide in the Rugu forest, which spans four states: Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna, and Niger. Their violence has killed more than 8,000 people since 2011 and forced more than 200,000 to flee their homes. In addition to these armed groups, the most populous country in Africa faces immense security challenges.
The jihadist insurgency during the last ten years has caused a great humanitarian crisis. The center is experiencing an increase in land disputes between herders and farmers. And the oil-rich southeast whose revenue does not benefit local populations is also undermined by insecurity and kidnappings. President Buhari replaced the four top army chiefs in late January, following mounting criticism of his conflict management.