Child kidnappings continue in Nigeria. Dozens of schoolchildren were kidnapped on Saturday, December 19, in the evening, by armed men in the north-west of the country, before being released Sunday morning thanks to the armed intervention of a self-defense group, a spokesperson for the local police, Gambo Isah, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Saturday night, “80 schoolchildren returning to their village of Mahuta, in Katsina state (…) were kidnapped by bandits who had already kidnapped four people and stolen 12 cows ”, said the spokesperson, adding that the “84 kidnapped people were recovered” Sunday morning. According to local sources, the number of these schoolchildren stands at 113.
Kidnapped on returning from a religious ceremony
The children were abducted Saturday night near the village of Baure as they returned with their teachers from a religious ceremony in a nearby village, the head of a self-defense militia, Abdullahi Sada, told AFP.
When the news reached Mahuta, the city where the children are from, the inhabitants and the militiamen of the self-defense group mobilized and then went in search of the kidnappers, quickly identified as members of the Fulani herding community. , he added.
“We invaded their area, we knew they were holding the children and also took some members of their community hostage, warning that if anything happened to our children, no Fulani would live here anymore”, Mr Sada added.
The operation made it possible to “Dislodge the bandits and save the 84 kidnapped victims”, said the spokesperson for the police, adding that it is continuing in view “To stop the bandits” and that a “Investigation has been opened”.
Armed bands, called “Bandits”, sometimes several hundred strong, terrorists for several years in rural areas of central and northwestern Nigeria, practicing on a large scale cattle rustling and kidnapping for ransom. Residents have set up self-defense groups to protect themselves but fail to end the violence, which has killed some 8,000 people since 2011.
This new kidnapping of schoolchildren took place forty-eight hours after the release of 344 children and adolescents, kidnapped from their boarding school, on December 11, by criminals operating on behalf of the jihadist group Boko Haram in the same region of Nigeria.